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Lady Matadors win Region I Division I Volleyball Championship
 November 1, 2012


Straight-set win over Eastern Arizona earns AWC first region volleyball title since 2007

Yuma, Arizona – October 31, 2012 – Arizona Western College is proud to announce that the AWC Volleyball team has officially won the 2012 Region I Division I Volleyball Championship after defeating the 2nd-seeded Lady Gila Monsters of Eastern Arizona College, 25-19, 28-26, 25-23, earlier tonight in the 2012 Region I Division I Volleyball Finals at ‘The House’ on the AWC campus in Yuma.  The win sends the Matadors to the District C Championship, which will be played November 6th at the site of the Region II Champions. 

After dominating the Lady Gila Monsters in three sets a week ago but then losing two matches (in one night) two nights later against Yavapai College in the regular season finale, Matador fans wondered which of those Matador performances they would see tonight.  From the opening serve, the Lady Matadors showed that their confidence wasn’t shaken from Friday’s losses as they broke out to an early 9-5 lead in Game 1.  They would gradually extend the lead throughout the game, leading by as many as 8 points on four different occasions, and behind Amber Graham’s five kills, took the first game, 25-19. 

Knowing that they were facing the possibility of having their four-year string of consecutive Region I titles snapped with a loss, Eastern Arizona came roaring back to build an 11-5 lead in Game 2.  2012 ACCAC Player of the Year Annalyn Sanders’ 5 kills in Game 2 helped pace the Gila Monsters as they extended their lead to 7 points.  However, the Matadors showed their resolve, battling back with 5 straight points to tie the set at 19 apiece.  After EAC took the lead back, 21-20, the Matadors recorded the next 3 points to take a 23-21 lead.  Eastern wouldn’t take the lead again in the game, although they tied the Matadors at 23, 24, 25, and 26 apiece before the Matadors finally outlasted them to win it, 28-26.

The Lady Matadors used that momentum to take the lead, 9-3, early in Game 3.  The Gila Monsters battled back with 6 points in a row to tie the score at 9 before AWC gradually began building the lead again.  The Matadors bumped the edge back to five points at 17-12 before the Gila Monsters made one last major surge, scoring 11 of the game’s next 15 points, and seemed poised to send the match to a fourth game.  Once again, though, the Matadors wouldn’t let the possible sweep slip away, scoring the match’s final four points, punctuated by Paula Rosa’s eighth and final kill to end the match.  Graham finished the match with a team-high 15 kills and 14 digs (along with one ace and two blocks), and was named the 2012 Region I Finals Most Valuable Player.  Rosa finished with 12 digs and 3 big aces to go along with her 8 kills.  Matadors’ setter Kylee Chun dished out 19 assists to go along with her 12 digs. 

The win gives the Lady Matadors their first Region I Championship since 2007, the 9th Region I title in the history of the program, and ends Eastern Arizona’s four-year reign at the top.  The victory also sends the Lady Matadors to the NJCAA District C Championship against the champions of Region II (either Northern Oklahoma-Enid, Redlands (OK) or Seminole State (OK)), who will also host the match on Tuesday night, November 6th.  The Region II Championship will be decided this Saturday in Oklahoma, and Matador fans should check the AWC Athletics website (www.azwestern.edu/athletics) or the Matador Sports Network’s Twitter page (@thevoiceyuma) for updates on who the Matadors will face next Tuesday.  The winner of the NJCAA District C Championship will advance to the NJCAA Division I Volleyball Tournament in West Plains, Missouri, November 15th through the 17th.

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