Thrilling Comeback Leads To Third Place National Finish For No. 2 Owens Volleyball

Thrilling Comeback Leads To Third Place National Finish For No. 2 Owens Volleyball

By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information


Charleston, W.V.---The No. 2 Owens Community College women's volleyball team came from behind to pick up a 25-22, 23-25, 17-25, 25-23, 15-11 win over No. 4 Catawba Valley Community College in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II National Tournament today.

With the victory, Owens (41-5) captured third place in the the tournament, which is the highest finish in program history at the NJCAA Division II level - one place higher than the fourth place finish in 2012. Overall, it marks the fourth third place finish in program history if you count the three third place finishes at the NJCAA Division III level in the late 1990s.

The sophomore class at Owens finished 81-12 overall and 28-0 in Ohio Community College Athletic Conference (OCCAC) play. They won two OCCAC championships, two Region XII District F championships and achieved two top 10 finishes at the NJCAA Division II National Tournament.


Tyanna Smith (Bowling Green/Bowling Green, Ohio) and Brooke Gyori (Clay/Oregon, Ohio) were both named to the NJCAA Division II All-National Tournament team. Smith had a career-high 20 kills in today's win, while Gyori had 28 digs.


Owens fell behind 3-1 in the first set despite a kill from Erika Angstmann (St. Marys Memorial/St. Marys, Ohio). From there, though, Owens controlled the set. Christine Tylutki (Monroe/Monroe, Mich.) picked up a kill to spur a 4-0 rally that gave Owens a two point lead.

The lead was 11-7 following an attack error from Catawba Valley. A block from Smith and Ashley Pleiman (Fort Loramie/Fort Loramie, Ohio) made it 16-12, and the lead later stretched to five following kill from Pleiman. Catawba Valley pulled within two twice late in the set, but Smith slammed home a kill to close the set.

Owens carried the momentum into the second set by scoring five of the first six points behind three kills from Angstmann. Catawba Valley rallied to scored eight of the next nine points. Niki Polce (Huron/New Boston, Mich.), who had a season-high 29 digs, would produce an ace to tie things up at 11 a few points later.

Following four more ties over the next seven points, Catawba Valley pushed its lead to 20-16 following an attack error from Olivia Hermiller (Ottawa-Glandorf/Ottawa, Ohio). Owens, however, rallied with four straight points, including one via a kill from Hermiller and another on a block from Tylutki and Devon Heitkamp (New Bremen/New Bremen, Ohio).

The teams traded the next six points, which featured a kill from Smith to tie things up at 23 apiece. Two straight attack errors from Owens, though, gave a close second set to Catawba Valley.

The third set featured a 9-1 run by Catawba Valley to start things off, and Owens never fully recovered. They were able to string together six straight points to pull within two following that initial deficit, and then a pair of kills from Smith pulled Owens within one at 11-10.

Catawba Valley responded with three straight points to push the lead back to four. A 6-1 run late in the set pushed the lead to eight. A service error gave Owens a sliver of hope, but Catawba Valley ended the set with a kill to put Owens on the brink.

In the fourth set, Owens held the lead early on, but never by more than two points until a kill from Angstmann made it 14-11. Catawba Valley responded and forced ties on the 14th, 16th, and 17th points. Then, they took a 19-18 lead before Owens produced a 4-1 run that put them up 23-19. The run featured a pair of kills from Pleiman and a kill from Angstmann.

Catawba Valley scored the next three points, but a kill from Smith and an attack error gave Owens a two point victory and forced a fifth set.

After dropping the first two and four of the first five points, Catawba Valley sent a serve into the net to give Owens hope, and they took advantage with a kill by Angstmann and two more kills from Smith to even things up at five.

Another kill from Smith tied things up at six. Catawba Valley scored three of the next four points to take a 9-7 lead, but Owens scored four straight on a service error, a kill from Heitkamp, a kill from Tylutki and a block from Angstmann and Heitkamp.

Following a kill from Catawba Valley, Heitkamp and Smith produced back-to-back kills to push the lead to 13-10. Following a passing error, Owens scored the final two points on attack errors from Catawba Valley.


Smith earned her career-high 20 kills over 31 attempts with a .548 hitting percentage. Heitkamp and Tylutki each added eight kills, and Heitkamp hit .400. Angstmann (6) and Pleiman (5) also contributed in kills.

Tylutki (33) and Carrigan Gray (Liberty-Benton/Findlay, Ohio) (19) led the team in assists, while Polce and Pleiman each had one ace for the team. Polce (29) and Gyori (28) combined for 57 of the team's 91 digs, and Tylutki chipped in 14. Smith (7) and Heitkamp (6) combined for 13 of the team's 24 blocks.