Roadrunners go 1-1 at the Opening Weekend Tournament

Published 11:44 pm Friday, August 19, 2022

ROCKFORD, Ill. — The return to the volleyball court for the Southwestern Michigan College Roadrunners was a success Friday.

The Roadrunners went 1-1 on the day, falling to No. 5-ranked Sauk Valley Community College in three sets before rebounding to defeat Roane State Community College in five sets.

Southwestern can count Friday as a success because, after 26 years, the Roadrunners have revived college volleyball at the community college.

First-year Head Coach Jenny Nate was pleased with her team overall, but also knows there is a lot of work to be done.

“We were beyond excited to compete in this tournament,” she said. “It is the largest junior college tournament in the country, and we knew we would be challenged and get a chance to play great teams and really see where we stand, our strengths and what we need to take back to practice and work on.”

Playing in the Opening Weekend Tournament hosted by McHenry Community College, the Roadrunners quickly learned what it takes to play volleyball at the junior college level.

Sauk Valley defeated Southwestern 25-22, 14-25 and 27-25.

“We were right there in two of the sets and really started to gel in the third which gave us confidence as a team,” Nate said. “We did a great job scoring and by the third set really started to put up the blocks and get our timing right against their outside hitters.”

Roane State Community College was up next. The Raiders were winners of the TCCAA regular season championship last season. They were winners of the National Junior College Athletic Association Region VII championship, qualifying them for the NJCAA nationals.

The Roadrunners needed five sets to get past Roane State to earn its first collegiate victory since the 1990s.

“It was a battle,” Nate said. “I love that this team plays to win, and despite being down at times, the score doesn’t faze them. They dig in, start to control the runs, kick up the energy, put the ball away and take the set. It’s fun to watch them keep building team chemistry and get stronger as a unit every day.”

Southwestern will face Illinois Valley Community College and Lake County Community College Saturday.

“We are excited to get back on the court tomorrow and keep working to improve and keep playing to win,” Nate said.

Complete individual statistics can be found online at in Daily Data.