Apache Ladies advance to fifth-place game

Published on Saturday, 17 November 2012 01:51 - Written by Vanessa E. Curry

WEST PLAINS, Mo. — The battle-scarred Apache Ladies revived their chances of placing in the top five of the NJCAA Division I Volleyball Tournament on Friday with a 3-2 win over Hillsboro (Fla.) Community College.

The win (25,12, 18-25, 28-26, 18-25, 15-13) advances Tyler Junior College team to a Saturday match against College of Central Florida for fifth place. The match is set for 2:30 p.m.

The Apache Ladies were knocked out of title contention on Thursday in a 3-0 loss to Texas rival San Jacinto College.

TJC coach Ronda Shirley said she didn’t get the performance she expected out of her sophomore players, but she said she was glad to see the freshmen step up in Friday’s game.

Shirley said she blames herself for not preparing the sophomores enough for national tournament play — an event TJC has not been a part of since 2002.

Although this year’s team may be new to the tournament, Shirley has taken five teams in her previous position as head coach at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College.

Shirley said her teams have placed every time she has gone to nationals.

“I’m glad my record is still intact,” she said.

For now, the team is going into the school’s record book at making it to the Elite 8.