Miami Dade wins NJCAA Volleyball Championship

Photo courtesy of @MDCSharks
Photo courtesy of @MDCSharks

CASPER, Wyo. (November 19, 2016) - Miami Dade College won the 2016 NJCAA Division I Volleyball Championship with a 3-0 victory over Iowa Western Community College.

The title was Miami Dade's first since 2004 and the Sharks' fifth since the College combined its athletics programs (1999, 2001, 2002, 2004). Prior to the athletic department merger, Miami Dade programs won NJCAA volleyball championships in 1986, 1989, 1990 and 1992. 

The Sharks dominated the 16-team field in Casper, winning each of its four matches in straight sets. Miami Dade, seeded fourth, opened tournament play with a 3-0 win against No. 13 Mineral Area (Mo.) College then knocked off No. 5 Salt Lake (Utah) Community College, 3-0.

The semifinal round featured a rematch of the FCSAA State Championship against No. 8 seed Santa Fe College. The Sharks swept the Saints, 3-0, setting the stage for the championship tilt with Iowa Western. 

Miami Dade pulled out a 25-20 win in the first set and cruised from there, winning the final two sets 25-13 and 25-18. 

While the Sharks won the tournament's biggest prize, they weren't the only team from Region 8 to flex its muscle on the national stage. Polk State College joined Miami Dade and Santa Fe in the semifinal round, and the Eagles knocked off the Saints in the third-place match. 

Miami Dade's Massiel Matos was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player while Kiko Benoit was named Coach of the Tournament. 

Matos was joined on the all-tournament team by teammates Leidy Vargas and Sun Wenting, Polk State's Kathya Garcia and Yue Wu and Santa Fe's Nadine Williams.