By Chris Schmidbauer, Sports Information Director
Sugar Grove, IL -- With just three returning players from last year's National Runner Up finish, the Owens Express Volleyball team headed to Waubonsee Community College for the opening tournament of the weekend.
The Express took on Iowa Central Community College in their first match on Friday morning. Iowa Central took the first two sets of the match 25-20 and 25-23. Owens would strike back in the third set, winning 25-19. Unfortunately for Owens, Iowa Central would claim the fourth set 25-21 to knock off the Express in their first match of the season.
Coach Sonny Lewis and his team did not have long to focus on the loss though, as they would have to turn around and face North Iowa Area Community College in the afternoon. The Express would win the first two sets in close fashion. Owens would claim the first at 31-29 and then the second by a final of 26-24. The Express would dominate the third set, winning 25-17 for their first match win of 2018.
The team would return to the court on Saturday morning for the day's opening match against Rock Valley College. Much like Friday's second match, Owens won the first set by two points. The second and third sets were a different story. Owens would claim the second set by a final of 25-17, making it the second match in a row where the team won a set by eight points. The Express would put Rock Valley away in the third by a final of 25-20, which meant Owens had back to back matches where they put an opponent away in straight sets.
The Express's final match of the Waubonsee Invitational was against Madison College on Saturday afternoon. The team was looking to finish the weekend on a strong note and they did just that. Owens would sweep Madison in straight sets again, 25-23, 25-13, and 25-20. It was the third match in a row where Owens won a game by eight or more points.
The team now will head back home to get set for a busy week of volleyball in the coming week. On Wednesday, the Express will welcome in Lorain County on Wednesday at 6:00 PM in the Student Health and Activities Center. Then on the weekend, Owens will host their annual invitational, where they will play five matches between Friday and Saturday.
- Owens Volleyball is the college's first sports program to participate at the Division III level of the NJCAA since the announcement over a year ago.