Clark State volleyball team makes first NJCAA district tournament appearance

Team finished 15-8 in regular season

The Clark State College women’s volleyball team will play in the National Junior College Athletic Association Great Lakes B tournament this week. Fans are encouraged to wish the team well at a “clap-out” at 8:50 a.m. Thursday at the athletic complex on the main campus in Springfield.

This is the program’s first appearance in the event. Clark State (15-8) is the No. 2 seed in the district. It plays Bay College (12-15) at 4 p.m. Thursday in Port Huron, Mich., and would play in the second round Friday if it wins.

“Literally, from the first day of practice this year, Michigan has been the goal for this group,” coach Angie Arthur, a former coach at Emmanuel Christian and Kenton Ridge, said in a press release. “They even created a ‘Road to Michigan’ poster that we hung in the gym to track our progress game by game.”

Mechanicsburg High School graduate Lily Cushman, a sophomore outside hitter, leads the team with 2.59 kills per set. Sophomore setter Jessa Robbins, of Northwestern, averages a team-best 8.7 assists per set.

Alivia Lemen, a sophomore defensive specialist/libero from Kenton Ridge, averages 5.1 digs per set. London graduate Raighen Combs, a freshman middle hitter, leads the team with 0.8 blocks per set.

Clark State returned six players from last season and added seven freshmen and one transfer.

“It has been my goal every year to be able to have a bigger roster to make practices more intense and create competitiveness for positions,” said Arthur, who’s in her fifth season. “It’s worked! This team practices hard every day and they really get along and enjoy and respect each other. It’s been wonderful to see each girl take pride in her role whether that’s a starter or not.”

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