White leads Owens to national runner-up finish

ROCHESTER, Minn — The defending national champion Owens Community College volleyball team made a trip back to nationals and placed as the NJCAA runnerups for the 2022 season.

This is the seventh consecutive year the team has qualified for the national tournament after earning the championship for the previous three years.

Otsego graduate Ashley Brinkman is a 5-foot-8, freshman outside hitter for the Express. The team had only three sophomores and the rest of the roster was made up of freshmen.

The team was ranked nationally in every category — kills, aces, blocks, digs and assists.

“I’m just so happy for the players,” Owens coach Sonny Lewis said. “After (most players) not playing last year and having almost an entirely new team, they worked hard this whole year to get to this point. I’m proud of them.”

The Express’ overall record was 29-7.

Five-foot-10 outside hitter Maddie White (Ottawa-Glandorf) was selected to the all tournament team at nationals.

White and 5-9 freshman outside hitter Ava Sholtis (Fort Loramie) were first team All-Ohio Community College Athletic Conference and 5-10 sophomore middle blocker Alexis Sarvo (Swanton) was second team All-OCCAC.

Sholtis and White were named the team’s Co-Most Valuable Players. Rheanna Patterson, 5-2 defensive specialist was named the Defensive Player of the Year.

The Most Improved Player went to Caylie Walters (Toledo Christian), a 5-10 freshman outside hitter from Maumee.

The Express went to Minnesota for nationals on Nov. 8-11 for the NJCAA Division III tournament at the Rochester Regional Sports Center.