By Jake Holmes
Carlow University volleyball is experiencing a season unlike those of recent years.
Outside hitter Carly Bonk and company led this squad to a USCAA tournament championship in Rochester, Mich., and a record that could be good enough to make a national championship tournament.
The Celtics beat Silver Lake College, Great Lakes Christian, Penn State-Fayette and host Rochester College to win the September tournament.
By late October, Carlow was 15-15, 3-6 and ranked seventh in the USCAA, an association that allows very small colleges to compete for national championships every year. The Celtics seem to receive bids to this tournament every year. However, this season seems a bit different.
Carlow has taken down some of the top competition in the USCAA this season, including second-ranked Rochester.
Middle hitter Nicolle Driscoll noted in an interview on the MSASports Network that this was the first time the senior class has beaten Rochester, “a team we play every year.”
The Celtics are carrying a deep senior class into postseason play, featuring Carly and Kelsey Bonk, both former team MVPs. Kelsey is a defensive specialist. Carly took home the Rochester College Tournament MVP award.
Carlow seniors also have strong blocking ability with middle hitters Amber Bussard and Driscoll. Ashley Grooms provides setting and serving ability.
The USCAA National Championship Tournament is held in SUNY in Canton, N.Y., Nov. 4-7.