By Chris Schmidbauer, Sports Information Director
Toledo, OH -- After jockeying for position throughout most of the season, the Owens Volleyball program has claimed the No. 1 ranking in the latest Tachikara NJCAA Division III poll. The Express jumped from No. 3 to the top spot, after another undefeated week of play.
The big match was on Friday night, when Owens squared off against then No. 2 ranked Columbus State on the road. The Express won the match 3-0, which was the second time Owens had defeated the Cougars this season. They followed the Friday night win with a dominant performance against Hocking College on Saturday.
The Express leapfrogged the Cougars and Central Lakes out of Minnesota to take the No.1 ranking.
The Express's ascension to the top of the poll is a remarkable one. Owens Athletics transitioned all of its sports from Division II to Division III to start the year. Coach Sonny Lewis had just three players return in total from a 2017 squad that was the Division II National Runner-Up. The program had to retool and brought in ten freshman to be a part of its program.
While the team is fairly new, this is not uncharted territory for Coach Lewis and his staff. Owens won their first 40 matches in a row in 2017, before falling in the NJCAA Division II National Championship match to Coffeyville a year ago.
The Express currently have a record of 31-6 overall and they are 15-0 in the OCCAC. Their weekend victories allowed the program to clinch its fourth straight OCCAC Conference Championship.
The newly minted No. 1 team will head on the road Wednesday to take on Lakeland in the regular season finale. The Express will follow that game up with a Division III Region XII Championship match on Saturday afternoon at 4 PM. They will take on the winner of a match between Lorain County and Columbus State to be played at 2 PM on Saturday. All of the games will be played at the Student Health and Activities Center this weekend.
For more information on this week's Tachikara Division III poll, click here.