November 12, 2021 | SPORTS | By Jackson Tanner | Photo by Anil Jergens
The Colorado College volleyball team has been a Division III powerhouse over the past few years. Their most recent regular season was no different. The Tigers have several players on the cusp of making history.
Georgia Mullins ’22 is currently fifth in CC Tiger history for number of kills in a season with 463. Isabella Vasquez ’22 is one of only 17 Tigers to record over 700 kills and 700 digs over their CC athletic career, and Jenny Jenks ’24 is second on CC’s single season assist leaderboard. With all this talent, CC was ranked seventh in the nation going into the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship.
When the Tigers competed against sixteenth-ranked Southwestern University Pirates, something was off. Southwestern got off to a quick start, winning the first two sets. Even though Colorado College tried to get back in the match with a strong comeback, Southwestern was able to maintain their lead. Vasquez had a match-high 16 kills and 18 digs while Mullins had 10 kills and 14 digs.
After the match, Mullins gave their opponent credit.
“It was hard to overcome the momentum that they had,” she said. “They were a good team all along, but on Saturday, they were phenomenal.”
Both Mullins and Vasquez didn’t make any excuses for the loss. However, one possible reason for the sluggish start was Southwestern’s opportunity to play the day before, while CC went into the game cold. The Tigers had never experienced this type of off week in the regular season.
It was odd to see the historically dominant CC volleyball team not in the final. With NCAA Tournament seeding on the line, the Tigers had to bounce back quickly in the third-place game against Texas Lutheran University.
“Nobody was satisfied with playing in that third-place match,” Mullins said. “So we had an extra sense of urgency to go out there and dominate.”
The Tigers did exactly that. They won handily in three sets. Vasquez had 11 kills and 14 kills recording her 13th double-double this year. Mullins and Isabella Lupacis both added with eight kills and 15 kills respectively.
This week, the CC Tigers were selected to play Ohio Northern in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Despite the upset against Southwestern, they still are confident in their game. CC has beaten fellow highly ranked opponents throughout the season. They see no reason why they shouldn’t do it again this week.
It is always a dream and an honor to play in the NCAA Tournament. The tournament alone provides motivation. However, this opportunity may feel special for seniors and roommates, Mullins and Vasquez. Both Mullins and Vasquez talked about how they will miss the culture and the relationships they have built when they leave after this year.
As they head into their final NCAA tournament with so much success behind them, they are not just fighting for a run at the national championship. The two stars are fighting for the chance to play with their teammates just a little longer. They are fighting to dominate, because they know that they may not be in the same competitive environment ever again.
As the Tigers head out to Waverly, Iowa, more than just glory is at stake. Before every game, the CC volleyball team gathers in a circle, and each player closes their eyes for one minute, taking in the moment before the game. This tradition is symbolic of everything the program represents.
The team is centered, composed, and prepared. It shouldn’t be a question of whether the Tigers are ready for the NCAA Tournament, but rather, is the NCAA Tournament ready for the Tigers?