UT-Brownsville Takes 3rd Straight Conference Title

The third was tough, but it was still a charm.

UTB/TSC won its third straight Red River Athletic Conference volleyball championship in a hard-fought 3-1 win over Wiley College Saturday at Manuel Garza B. Gymnasium.

The final scores were 25-18, 17-25, 25-20, 25-23. The fourth set was a nail-biter but UTB/TSC avoided going into a deciding fifth set.

UTB/TSC, the No. 2-ranked team in the NAIA, is 26-2 and will get an automatic bid to the NAIA Women's Volleyball National Championship Tournament in Sioux City Iowa, Nov. 29-Dec. 3. Because the Scorpions are ranked among the top 12 teams in the nation, they do not have to play in Opening Round matches Nov. 19.

"I thought we got a great team effort this weekend everybody contributed all weekend long," Scorpion head coach Todd Lowery said. "We played with several different rotations this weekend and both were effective for the team we were playing. Wiley is a very good team with a lot of offense if you make mistakes they make you pay for them."

Outside hitter Vanja Joksic was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. Also named to the All-Tournament team were Scorpions Amber Brooks and Ana Guerra.

UTB/TSC stepped it up a notch on the defensive front, but committed 20 attack errors and 15 service errors.

Guerra had a big day on both ends. She had 13 kills on 21 swings with only one error for a .571 attack percentage. She also had 10 blocks -- three solo and seven assisted.

Danica Markovic had 16 kills on 34 swings with three errors for a .353 attack percentage. Joksic hit 10-for-19 with three errors for a .368 percentage.

Amber Brooks had 50 assists -- a season-high in assists for a four-set match. She also had three service aces and continues to lead the NAIA in that category with an average of 0.8 aces per set.

Paula Barros had 22 digs and Yenifer Calcano 10.

"I think the girls did a good job and at taking care of the task at hand which was to win the conference tournament and qualify for nationals." Lowery said. "Now we have to go to nationals and step up the level of our play again.