GREAT FINISH

The M State volleyball team finished third at the national tournament Saturday in Rochester. Two Spartans — Brooke Hovland and Kaia Strom — were named to the National All-Tournament team.

ROCHESTER — The M State volleyball team finished their season strong Saturday, placing third in the NJCAA Division III National Tournament by defeating New York’s SUNY Broome 3-1 (25-16, 19-25, 26-24, 25-23), and having two area Spartans — ex-Rockets standout Brooke Hovland and former Otters force Kaia Strom — named to the National All-Tournament team. The third place finish comes after defeating Butler County Community College from Pennsylvania 3-0 (25-10, 25-13, 25-14) on Thursday before falling to Owens Community College from Ohio 3-1 (26-24, 20-25, 25-12, 25-18) on Friday.

In the first set of the third-place match Hovland dominated at the net recording seven of her team high 13 kills while defensive gatekeeper Bailey Marty showed off how well-rounded she is by serving up five aces. M State would drop the second set but in the third set Emily Condon set the pace for the Spartans’ offensive attack with five kills. The fourth set was hotly contested with both teams vying for an advantage but eventually M State was able to pull away highlighted by Strom serving the final point for the third-place title.

“I’m so proud of the team and everything they accomplished this weekend,” said head volleyball coach Abby Crowser. “Everyone worked so hard this season and being able to compete at the national tournament was a memory we will never forget. Not every team gets to know what game will be their last of the season, so heading into the third place match on Saturday, we wanted to make sure to end the season on a high note. Being able to complete the season with a win and third-place finish at Nationals was a great way to close out the 2021 season. Every player showed tremendous determination, grit and camaraderie all season long and I couldn’t have asked for a better team to coach.”

In the matchup versus SUNY Broome the Spartans were led by Hovland (13 kills, 3 digs), Strom (33 assists, 6 digs, 2 blocks) and Marty (25 digs, 7 aces, 2 kills).

The Spartans end their season with an overall record of 21-6.

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