Top-seeded Cowley College (32-4) took care of business, and the East Central College Falcons (20-26), Thursday to open the NJCAA Division II National Tournament in Perrysburg, Ohio.
Cowley knocked off the Falcons, 25-13, 25-11, 25-10.
East Central played in the consolation bracket Friday at noon EST (11 a.m. here). The loser goes home and ties for 13th. (ECC lost the match, ending its season).
In Thursday’s match, ECC led once, 1-0 in the second game, and was tied three times.
ECC scored 14 of its 34 points on Cowley errors. The Falcons ended with 13 kills. Sophomore Amanda Reetz (West Delaware, Manchester, Iowa) led the way with six.
Freshman Abby Toppmeyer (Ft. Zumwalt North) ended with three kills while freshman Paige Schmelzle (Ste. Genevieve) posted two and freshmen Hannah Leslie (Washington) and Abby Spuhl (Pacific) had one kill each.
Leslie led the team with two blocks. Reetz, Schmelzle, Spuhl and Toppmeyer each had one block.
Reetz served the team’s lone ace.
When the Falcons play Monroe College on Friday, they will do so without Leslie, who had to come back to Union to attend a biology class she would be dropped from with one more absence.
The school flew Leslie to the tournament after her class Wednesday and is bringing her back to be able to attend it Friday. Leslie’s case has received considerable attention on a local, regional and national levels.
Monroe, the eighth seed in the tournament, was swept by No. 9 Central Community College-Columbus (Neb.) Thursday, 25-22, 25-19, 25-23.
In other action Thursday:
• No. 3 Johnson County (Kan.) had little trouble with Hagerstown (Md.), winning the opener, 25-16, 25-9, 25-14.
• No. 11 Des Moines Area Community College (Iowa) came through with the first upset, rallying from a two-game deficit to knock off No. 6 Glendale (Ariz.), 27-29, 19-25, 25-18, 25-21, 15-13.
• No. 10 Grand Rapids (Mich.), the defending national champion, handed No. 7 Catawba Valley (N.C.) its first loss of the season in five games, 21-25, 25-20, 22-25, 25-21, 15-11.
• No. 2 Parkland rolled past No. 15 Moraine Valley in a battle of Illinois schools, 25-15, 25-18, 25-20.
• No. 12 Southwestern (Iowa) shocked No. 5 Illinois Central, a perennial national contender, with a three-game sweep, 26-24, 25-23, 25-21.
• No. 4 Oakland (Mich.) swept No. 13 South Suburban (Ill.) in three games, 25-15, 25-19, 25-21.
In the quarterfinals Thursday night:
• Johnson County needed four games to end the title hopes of DMACC, 23-25, 25-14, 25-17, 25-19.
• Parkland knocked off defending champion Grand Rapids in four games, 16-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-13.
• Cowley rolled past Central-Columbus, 25-14, 26-24, 25-21.
• Oakland advanced to the semifinals with a three-game win over Southwestern, 25-22, 25-21, 25-14.
That leaves the top four seeds, Cowley, Parkland, Johnson County and Oakland to contest the top four places.
Central-Columbus, Grand Rapids, DMACC and Southwestern will play for fifth place through eighth place.
The rest are in the consolation bracket for ninth place.
In the opener, Cowley scored first, but the Falcons tied it on a kill by Reetz, 1-1.
ECC next scored on a service error and a lift to stay within a point. But Cowley went on a four-point run and never looked back.
Toppmeyer and Spuhl combined for a block for East Central’s next earned point. Overall, the Falcons earned six of their 13 points in the opening set.
In the second game, the Falcons took the lead at 1-0 on a Reetz kill. ECC then tied it at 3-3 on a dump by Schmelzle and another kill from Reetz.
ECC got an error to trim the lead to 5-4, but never could tie it again.
East Central’s best sequence produced back-to-back points on a Toppmeyer kill and a Leslie block to cut it to 8-6.
The final point of the second game came on a long rally which saw the Falcons keep the ball in play for a considerable time, but Cowley found the floor with an attack to win it.
Only three of the 11 ECC points came on errors in the second set.
The Falcons never were close in the third game. Twice, ECC scored back-to-back points. Once, ECC got a kill by Reetz and a block from Leslie and Schmelzle to cut it to 16-8. That was the last positive scoring for ECC.
The Falcons got their final two points on errors and took advantage of Four Cowley mistakes overall in the final set.