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Five National Championships in Five Years

Clearwater Christian College participated in the 2010 NCCAA II National Volleyball Championship this past weekend at the Kissimmee Civic Center. The team captured another national championship banner for the fifth straight season marking their 10th national title in the past 16 years.

During the three-day event, Clearwater went undefeated in pool play, winning matches against Multnomah, Grace University, Lancaster and Maranatha. On Saturday in the semi-final match, the Lady Cougars defeated Kentucky Christian University in three straight sets, placing them into the championship match against Ozark Christian College. Ozark brought a 36-0 record coming into the national championship match.

This is the 15th time the Clearwater Volleyball Team has faced off for the NCCAA national title and their experience was definitely an advantage over Ozark who was appearing for the first time in the national championship match. Clearwater came out strong in game one and dominated with their outstanding defense and solid offense to win 25-14. During game two, the Cougars continued their explosive attack led by setter Elisabeth Ennis and hitters Richelle Bucklin, Emma Kile and Amanda Bucklin, while the defensive effort was sparked by senior libero, Danielle Heffernan and sophomore Amanda Ison. The Cougars won set two, 25-13. However during game three, the Ambassadors settled down and fought hard to get back into the match keeping the score close throughout. Finally with the score 24-21 in favor of CCC, senior Danielle Heffernan stepped back to serve an ace to win the final point of the match and to secure the fifth straight NCCAA National Volleyball Championship for the Lady Cougars.

Several CCC players were honored during the National Tournament including First Team All-Americans Elisabeth Ennis and Emma Kile while Richelle Bucklin was selected as a Second Team All-American. Scholar Athletes included Kayla Whitely, Danielle Heffernan, Emma Kile and Jessye Pisani. Emma Kile was also named as Co-Player of the Year. All Tournament honors included Elisabeth Ennis with Emma Kile being named the MVP of this year’s national tournament.

Clearwater’s overall record this season was 46-8, setting a new team record for most wins in a season. The Lady Cougars went undefeated against NCCAA II colleges and also had several big wins over NCCAA I, NAIA, NJCAA, and NCAA II & III colleges. Winning both their own Labor Day tournament and Invitational Tournament were additional highlights of their season.

According to Coach Denny, “We are very thankful for the successful year that the Lord gave us. After graduating three key starters from last year’s championship team, we had some big spots to fill. The Lord brought in some great new players while returners really stepped up big for us. The amount of improvement seen on this year’s squad from the start of our season to now was tremendous. I really do not think many people thought we could win nationals again this year, but through hard work and determination, the Lord once again allowed us to bring home the banner.”