10/17/2012 11:40:00 PM Yavapai volleyball team cracks national rankings for 1st time since 2000 Team celebrates with win Wednesday
Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier Yavapai’s MacKenzie Hamilton dives for the ball Wednesday night against Scottsdale in Prescott.
The Daily Courier
For the first time in 12 years on Wednesday, the Yavapai College volleyball program cracked the NJCAA's Division I Top 20 rankings.
The only question was whether the No. 19 Roughriders could keep their mojo going against D-II Scottsdale in their home finale at the Storm Center - and stay in the thick of the Arizona Conference's tight D-I race.
Yavapai did indeed continue its hot streak on Sophomore Night, winning its 10th straight match with a 3-1 victory (25-19, 14-25, 26-24, 25-21) to improve to 8-4 in conference under sixth-year coach Matt Cohen.
The second-place Roughriders are on the heels of D-I conference first-place Central Arizona (9-4), which lost to D-II power Glendale Wednesday.
Yavapai sophomore outside hitter Lauren Bevan, who Wednesday was named both the NJCAA's and the Arizona Conference's D-I player of the week for Oct. 8-14, notched 15 kills and 15 digs versus the Artichokes.
In four of YC's five straight wins last week, Bevan recorded double-digit kills, including an average of 3.81 kills and 2.1 digs in 16 sets.
Bevan joins former Roughrider OH Haley Shackelford (2009-10), now a senior at NCAA D-II West Florida, as the only two players in Cohen's tenure to be named national player of the week.
"To get that award is just so great for her, because it gets her some national recognition with the four-year schools as well," Cohen said of Bevan. "She deserves it."
In the victory over Scottsdale, Roughrider freshman OH Jen Sadler ripped a team-high 18 kills. Sophomore setter Libby Ary had 54 assists, two service aces and 11 digs. Sophomore OH MacKenzie Hamilton added 13 kills.
Cohen credited his team's six sophomores for their leadership and grace. Last year as freshmen, they took their lumps in a disappointing 14-16 campaign.
"They're just making a huge difference in everything they do, off and on the court," Cohen said. "They had a trying experience last season, but it gave them great perspective."
Yavapai is now 26-5 overall with four matches remaining on its 2012 schedule.
YC next pays a visit to D-I Eastern Arizona (8-5) at 7 p.m. Friday in Thatcher before traveling to Central Oct. 24 and concluding the season with a doubleheader at D-I Arizona Western (7-4) Oct. 26.
Only the top two D-I schools from the Arizona Conference qualify for the NJCAA's Region I, Division I playoffs Oct. 31, so the run for the postseason is on.
"It's going to come down to that last week, which is exciting," Cohen said.