Columbia College volleyball one win away from national championship

Saturday, December 4, 2010 | 2:59 p.m. CST; updated 12:12 a.m. CST, Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Columbia College volleyball team picked the right time to play its best game of the season. The Cougars dominated from the outset Saturday morning against No. 1 Lee University in the semifinals of the NAIA national tournament, sweeping the undefeated Flames 25-11, 25-19, 25-17.

“We were fresh,” Wrye-Washington said. “Everything paid off, all the extra conditioning.”

The Cougars (42-2) won despite one of the nation’s most productive outside hitters, Vesna Trivunovic, getting only five kills. Serena Jenkins picked up the slack, registering 20 kills and an outstanding .633 hitting percentage. Nicole Murphy also stepped up with 13 kills and a .600 hitting percentage.

Setter Paula Ferreira was dominant with 40 assists.

“She passed the ball really well, and she worked them really good,” Wrye-Washington said. “She got our hitters a lot of one-on-one matchups.”

Columbia College brought a bus full of fans from Columbia. The group left at 3 a.m. Saturday morning and arrived at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa 15 minutes before the Cougars started their 10 a.m. match.

“They were fired up, it was a big boost to have them here,” Wrye-Washington said.

The win was the 30th straight for the Cougars. They will be playing for the program’s fourth national championship at 8 p.m. Saturday against the three-time defending champions, Fresno Pacific.

The last time the Cougars played for the national championship was in 2005 when they lost to California Baptist. Their last national championship victory came in 2001.

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