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Published 9/28/2004

Owens Community College Express Volleyball Voted No. 12 in the Nation by NJCAA

Continuing to build on a season of success, the Owens Community College women's volleyball team is currently ranked No. 12 in the nation among Division II volleyball programs by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).

"Being ranked among the elite teams in the country is quite an achievement for the Owens women's volleyball program," said Sonny Lewis, Owens Women's Volleyball Head Coach. "I'm very proud of our players who really have been putting forth the hard work and effort."

The 2004 edition of the Owens women's volleyball team plays a very aggressive style, both on the defensive and offensive side of the net, said Lewis, who now has 146 wins in his four-year tenure as the head volleyball coach at Owens.

"Our team also is very unselfish," he said. "Each match it seems as though there is always someone different who steps up to make a crucial ace, dig, kill or assist, which is the reason we are once again vying for another Ohio Community College Athletic Conference regular season and tournament championship."

Lewis added, "We're flattered by this ranking, however, we still have a lot of difficult matches within the conference ahead of us."

The Owens Express balanced attack has led to an impressive 22-6 overall record and 5-0 mark in the OCCAC. During the last five years, Owens has accumulated a record-setting 66 consecutive OCCAC match-winning streak and captured the last four regular season and tournament championships.

In recent weeks, Owens has recorded regular season wins over Lakeland Community College (30-15, 30-15, 30-19), Muskegon Community College (30-27, 30-23, 30-12), Kalamazoo Valley Community College (28-30, 30-25, 22-30, 30-26, 15-14) and Lorain County Community College (30-17, 30-12, 30-20).

Last season, the Express women's volleyball program ended with a 40-9 overall record. The program captured the OCCAC regular season and tournament championships, finishing with an overall 15-0 conference record (OCCAC regular season and tournament matches).

The Express have eight players returning from last year's championship team, including Courtney Caldwell of Lambertville, Michigan, outside hitter (Bedford High School); Ashley Hill of Bellevue, libero (Bellevue High School); Risa Smith of Lambertville, Michigan, outside hitter (Start High School); Danielle Rego of Toledo, middle blocker (Bowsher High School); Melissa Fleig of Toledo, setter (Springfield High School); Ashlee Kwiatkowski of Northwood, outside hitter (Northwood High School); Amy Czupich of Temperance, Michigan, outside hitter (Bedford High School), and Brianne Sawyer of Millbury, middle blocker (Lake High School).

First-year players to the Express women's volleyball program are Ceara Barr of Vickery, setter (Fremont Ross High School); Mallory Bieringer of Temperance, Michigan, outside hitter (Bedford High School); Anna Rauch of Wyandotte, Michigan, setter (Roosevelt High School); Alexi Carnicom of Gibsonburg, rightside hitter (Gibsonburg High School), and Kelli Fisher of Perrysburg, middle blocker (Perrysburg High School).

The Express have two regular season home matches remaining on their schedule. Lewis' squad will host Lakeland Community College and Sinclair Community College on October 20 and 22, respectively. The Express are currently in the middle of a six-match road trip, which will conclude with Owens competing in the Illinois Central Invitational in East Peoria, Illinois, October 15-16.

All home matches are played at the College's Student Health and Activities Center (SHAC) on the Toledo-area Campus. Owens is located on Oregon Road, four miles from downtown Toledo. Admission to home matches is free.

At the conclusion of the NJCAA volleyball season, Owens Community College will host the Division II NJCAA National Volleyball Championship for the fourth consecutive year. All tournament matches will be held at the College's Student Health and Activities Center (SHAC) on the Toledo-area Campus. Prior to serving as the Division II National Championship site, Owens hosted three Division III tournaments.

Owens Community College is the fastest-growing higher educational institution in Ohio with 29 consecutive semesters of enrollment increases. On the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, Owens serves more than 44,000 credit and non-credit students making it the number one choice for new college students. Owens is committed to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability. Owens Community College offers over 130 program areas in Agriculture, Business, Fine and Performing Arts, Health, Public Service, Skilled Trades, Industrial and Engineering Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor's degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university.


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