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Grand Rapids earns first DII volleyball title
 November 17, 2012

With their backs against the wall in every set, Grand Rapids Community College (Mich.) showed their grit and swept top-seeded Cowley County CC (Kan.) 25-20, 25-23, 26-24 to win their first NJCAA DII volleyball national championship. 

After coming back from a two-set deficit in the semifinals, the Grand Rapids Raiders showed no hesitation when they fell behind 18-15 to Cowley County in the opening set. The Tigers fell victim to a flurry of Grand Rapids kills as the Raiders won 10 of the final 12 points to take the first set. The Cowley Tigers came out strong in the second set, jumping out to a 21-11 lead. Grands Rapids came back again however, outscoring the Tigers 14-2 down the stretch to take a 2-0 lead in the match. In the final set, Cowley County saw their 21-17 advantage evaporate as the Raiders tallied their third sweep of the tournament to claim the DII crown.

Entering the tournament as the No. 2 seed, Grand Rapids took care of business in their first two matches of the tournament. The Raiders trounced No. 15 seed Hagerstown CC (Md.) 25-18, 25-13, 25-6 in their opening match. In the second round, Grand Rapids earned another sweep with a 25-14, 25-21, 25-19 victory over No. 10 seed Kishwaukee College (Ill). Things got tougher in the semifinals for the Raiders when they faced No. 3 seed Parkland College (Ill.). After dropping the first two sets to the Parkland Cobras, Grand Rapids stormed back to win three-straight sets and came out with a 25-27, 20-25, 25-21, 25-17, 16-14 win.

Cowley County's undefeated campaign in 2012 came to a close with their loss to Grand Rapids. The loss capped the Tigers off with a 38-1 record to end the year.

The Raiders finished their national championship season with a 39-1 overall record. Losing their last match on Sept. 7, Grand Rapids rode a 30-game win streak straight to the national title.

Click here for awards, all-tournament selections, full results and archived video broadcasts of all 27 matches.

Photo courtesy of Frawgbyte Photography/Studio 316

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