Navarro Volleyball: Bulldogs finish third in the nation

Nov. 21—It has felt for a while that Navarro's volleyball season would never end, and now that it's over — this magical season that was the second-best in the program's history behind the Bulldogs' 2019 perfect national championship season — there's plenty to be proud about.

Ariel Apolinario's young ladies took home third-place in the nation Saturday when they swept Trinity Valley 3-0 (25-19, 25-16, 25-16) in the NJCAA Division I Tournament, bouncing back from a bitter loss Friday night to Miami-Dade, which finished second in the nation.

The Bulldogs played four matches in Hutchinson, Kansas and won three — all 3-0 sweeps in the nationals — to make a pretty impressive statement with three one-sided victories against a trio of nationally-ranked teams, including No. 2 Northeastern and a sweep over TVCC, which a half-hour from Corsicana and traveled from Athens to Hutchinson to end its season against Navarro.

"It was a solid week for Region XIV," said Aplolinario, whose team played TVCC for the fourth time this season, including a loss for the Region XIV Title on Oct. 5th.

There was a revenge factor for the Bulldogs, but more importantly, there was a gut-check, heart-check factor for Navarro, which found a way to come back from a tough loss Friday night and not only defeat TVCC, but sweep the Cardinals.

"Making it to the Final 4 and getting a third-place finish in the nation is nothing to scoff at," Apolinario said after winning Saturday. "I am proud of the choice our group made today after coming from last night's defeat!

"I am very proud of them."

Kalina Pylinska, who along with Hanna Tylska, has led Navarro at the net all year was named to the All-Tournament Team and Navarro won the Sportsmanship Award.

Pylinska and Tylska, who are both from Poland, led the Dawgs at the net all season and were among the national leaders in kills all season.

Alessandro Pantojo was among the leaders in the nation in assists along with teammate Alivia Sotelo, and Alyssa Sotelo, who led Navarro in digs all year.

The Bulldogs finished their season with a 34-4 record with a mindboggling 26 sweeps. All-in-all this was a special team that left its mark on the season and more ...