Roadrunners Rally to Win Back-to-back NWAC Volleyball Championships
LAKEWOOD, Washington — The Linn-Benton Volleyball team claimed its second-straight NWAC Volleyball Championship after a five-set victory over Columbia Basin in an incredible match on Sunday, Nov. 20, at Pierce College.
After winning their first-ever NWAC title in 2021 led by head coach Jayme Frazier, the Roadrunners have now won back-to-back titles in dominant fashion. LBCC finished 2021 with a 32-2 record but managed to improve upon that with a 34-1 record in 2022.
A rarity on the season, the Roadrunners went down 2-1 in the match due to the tough play of the Hawks. In set four, however, LBCC collected themselves to tie the score with 25-20 set win. In the fifth and final set, it was all Roadrunners as they went up 9-1, eventually finishing the thrilling match with a 15-5 set score.
The Roadrunners took set one by a 25-15 score as their front row caught fire, recording five blocks with a number of unstoppable hits.
The Hawks, who have had their backs against the wall the entire tournament, did not back down from a first set loss, taking the next two sets to go up 2-1. Even after going down 23-22 in the third set, the Hawks scored the final three points to grab the important third set and a 2-1 lead.
CBC finished with an incredible run to the finals, winning back-to-back five-set matches on Friday and Saturday. The Hawks completed an emotional, adversity-filled season with a record of 30-4 and runners-up of the NWAC tournament.
Shelbey Nichol and Grace Boeder each had a great match for the Roadrunners as they relied on their middle blockers for scoring. Nichol had 21 kills and seven total blocks while Boeder had 16 kills on 22 attacks for an outstanding .682 hitting percentage to go along with her four blocks. Tournament MVP Taya Manibusan, who earned the award for the second year in a row, had 12 kills and 26 digs. Savannah Hutchins had 43 assists and Graci Zanona had 22 digs.
The Hawks relied once again on Hokulani Sagapolu, who had 17 kills and 15 digs with four blocks. Lucendy Perez had 11 kills. Abbey Bonnington finished with 23 digs and Josephine Thomson had 29 assists and 20 digs.
MVP: Taya Manibusan, Linn-Benton
Shelbey Nichol, Linn-Benton
Graci Zanona, Linn-Benton
Hokulani Sagapolu, Columbia Basin
Abbey Bonnington, Columbia Basin
Marin Mackey, Bellevue
Abigail Neff, North Idaho
Eva Buford, Linn-Benton
Josephine Thompson, Columbia Basin
Kate Hansen, Bellevue
Jessica Stires, North Idaho
Bryn Batten, Skagit Valley
Celia Hubbard, Lane