GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Alyssa Meis smashed her way to 29 kills as the No. 17 Express volleyball team came from behind to defeat Columbus State Community College 25-13, 20-25, 18-25, 25-20, 15-10 in the Region XII District E championship.
Had Columbus State won, the Express would have had another chance as Columbus State had to come out of the loser's bracket.
It was the second time the Express defeated Columbus State CC in the tournament and, with the win, the Express advance to the NJCAA D-II National Tournament, which will be held at Owens CC Nov. 15-17.
Meis, who added 22 digs and four assisted blocks, was named the tournament MVP. In the four tournament matches the Express played, Meis had 71 kills, 55 digs and seven assisted blocks.
Dakia Sellers, who had 19 kills and five digs in the championship, and Molly Hilfinger, who had 55 assists, five kills, 16 digs and one assisted block in the championship, were named to the Region XII District E all-tournament team.
In the championship, Kenzie Kleinhenz (9) and Dominique Yates (8) led the team in assisted blocks, while Lisa Urbanski had 34 digs. Bailey Windham added 12 digs.
On Saturday, the Express reached the championship with wins over Oakland Community College (28-26, 25-20, 25-22) in the winner's bracket semifinal and Columbus State Community College (25-14, 16-25, 25-18, 27-25) in the winner's bracket finals. Oakland CC was the defending Region XII District E champion, as well as the defending NJCAA D-II national tournament runner-up.
In the win over Oakland CC, Meis and Sellers each led the Express with 16 kills, while Jazmine Thomas added five. Hilfinger had 38 of the team's 41 assists, and Urbanski had a team-high 18 digs. Windham (16), Hilfinger (15) and Meis (13) each also contributed in the dig category. Sellers led the Express in blocks with two solos and three assisted. Thomas also had three assisted blocks.
In the win over Columbus State CC, Meis (20) and Sellers (15) led the Express in kills, while Hilfinger had all 53 assists for her team. Urbanski had a team-high 32 digs, while Hilfinger (14), Meis (11) and Windham (9) also contributed. Yates had a team-high four assisted blocks.