Navarro Volleyball: Bulldogs win Region XIV title

Oct. 27—One down, two to go.

That's volleyball math at Navarro, where the nationally-ranked No. 4 Bulldog volleyball team clinched the Region XIV Conference title with a 3-2 victory over Blinn to finish the regular season with a 30-2 record and the first piece of their puzzle completed.

"We have three goals," Navarro Coach Ariel Apolinario said. "The first is to win the conference title, the second is to win the Region XIV Tournament and the third is to win the national title.

"This is special," he said. "We came up a little short a couple of times (finishing second the last two seasons) so this means a lot. They knew what they were playing for (against Blinn) and they will have this — the Conference title — for the rest of their lives."

Step 2 is the Region XIV Tournament, which begins Nov. 3 in Baytown, but Navarro won't play until Nov. 4 because the Bulldogs earned a bye as the No. 1 seed in the three-day, single elimination tournament.

They finished the regular season with a 30-2 record, including going 15-1 in the conference to earn the top seed. The goal is to win the Region XIV Tournament in Baytown and advance to the national tournament.

"The expectations have always been the same," Apolinario said. "The expectations are always to compete for championships. I think our body of work has been really, really good this year, and we have one of the three goals."

Apolinario is proud of his team and what they have accomplished this season. They not only won 30 games and the conference title, but they had 3-0 sweeps in 23 of the 30 victories to get where they're at today. They started the season with a 15-game winning streak, lost, and started anew, ripping off a nine-game winning streak before losing on Oct. 9 before ending the regular season with a six-game winning streak — all on the road — including five sweeps and a huge victory over No. 11 Blinn.

The Bulldogs have been led all year by big hitters Hanna Tylska and Kalina Pylinska, and setters Alessandra Pantoja, Alvia Sotelo as well as libero Alyssa Rogo, and Gabriela Smolenski and Khayla Gordon.