CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — The top-seeded Cowley College volleyball team had dropped just three games all season.
The Lady Tigers lost three games Saturday in the championship match of the NJCAA Division II National Tournament, falling to No. 3-seeded Parkland (Ill.) 25-20, 20-25, 25-21, 25-17 at the Alliant Energy Powerhouse.
The Lady Tigers entered the title match with a 41-0 record, compiling a 123-3 record in sets won. The Lady Cobras (56-3) entered the match on a 38-match win streak.
Parkland was appearing in the national title match for the fourth straight season and eighth in the past nine. The Lady Cobras came out hitting strong in set one and handed Cowley just its fourth set loss of the season.
The Lady Tigers, facing adversity for one of the few times this season, came out swinging in set two and evened the match at a set apiece.
Parkland jumped out to a 10-5 lead early in set three. The Lady Tigers answered and pulled to within 16-14, but could not get over the hump.
With their season on the line, the Lady Tigers scored five of the first seven points of set four, but Parkland regained control to lead 16-10.
Cowley pulled to within 20-16, but the Lady Cobras scored five of the final six points to claim their first national title since 2016.
Kat Blasé, the tournament MVP, led Parkland with 13 kills and a .550 hitting percentage.
Iva Halacheva and Laci Beougher paced the Lady Tigers with 17 and 16 kills, respectively. The Lady Cobras outhit Cowley .321 to .227.
The Lady Tigers advanced to the title match Friday night with a 25-15, 25-23, 25-21 victory against fourth-seeded Johnson County in the semifinals.
Trailing by a set, the Lady Cavaliers (31-7) led 15-11 in the second set before Cowley rallied to take the lead by scoring five straight points. Tied 23-23, Laci Beougher and Tessari pounded back-to-back kills to take the set.
Cowley trailed 17-13 in the third set on back-to-back aces by the Lady Cavaliers. A timeout by Cowley coach Steven Gream sparked the Lady Tigers, who outscored Johnson County 12-4 the rest of the way.