Rockland Community College Lady Hawks Volleyball Team Nabs Historic Win

With a 3-0 win over the Community College of Rhode Island in the Northeast District Tournament last Saturday, the Rockland Community College women’s volleyball team made history, advancing for the first time ever to compete in the 2021 NJCAA DIII Volleyball National Championships. The Championships will be played in Rochester, Minnesota, at the Rochester Regional Sports Center, from November 11-13, 2021. Twelve
teams from around the country will be featured.
The Lady Hawks, now Northeast District B champs, finished their season with an overall 15-6 record. They have been named the 11 th seed for the championship, and will face off first against the Butler County Pioneers (16-1), from the Mid-Atlantic B District.
During Saturday’s win, Rockland displayed a full team effort to defeat the Region 21 champion Knights of Community College of Rhode Island. Region award winners Brianna Almonte and Gabrielle Faulcon led the way for RCC, each with 15 kills during the match. Kendra
Faulcon led both teams in assists with 27. By earning a spot at Nationals, first-year Head Coach Sara Hayward has led Rockland to its most successful season in school history.
“The women’s volleyball team has had an amazing season. The team’s first-ever trip to the NJCAA DIII National Championship Tournament is a testament to the hard work they put in each day,” said Ed Bajor, Director of Athletics Arena Management for RCC. “First-year HeadCoach Sara Hayward has done an incredible job with this team in such a short amount of time. Considering that we didn’t have a season last year due to the pandemic makes this
accomplishment that much more impressive!
“The women’s team had a dominant season in the region—they earned their spot at nationals
with a lot of hard work and great coaching,” he added.
Jolie Santiago, 19, a New City resident who is middle hitter for the Lady Hawks, felt the excitement first-hand. “I’m so proud of my team,” she said. “We are the smallest team in the league and two of us are even playing with injuries but it’s our heart and teamwork that has made it possible for us to get to nationals and compete against the best teams in the country.”
Santiago is optimistic about the team’s chances for next week: “I know we can win this!”