A complete match victory would best describe how the Chaparrals captured their first Region IV volleyball title in 19 seasons.
College of DuPage honored its share of all-tournament performers, but a cast of unsung stars found a way to make big-time contributions in the Chaps' 3-1 win over Joliet Junior College for the right to advance to the NJCAA Division III National Championship.
"Our role players were absolutely critical for us today," said Head Coach Tolis Koskinaris. "Our front-line people receive the accolades, but wow, it was impressive to see a complete victory."
Sophomore Akira Lebron (Glenbard North) hit .667 on the attack, with eight kills in 12. Cyd Martinez (Marist) kept the ball alive with 14 digs and three service aces. Jaidyn Tan (Downers Grove South) also had three service aces and Abigail Alonzo (Timothy Christian) had three aces with 14 digs in the Chaps' 25-14, 23-25, 25-16, 25-9 victory.
Big leads paid off for COD in the opener and in the closing set, and in between, they fought through a game Joliet team that played for an upset.
"Joliet came out so strong," Koskinaris said. "Players like Alyssa Ohlund always play their best against us."
All-Tournament players Alyssa Fountain (Downers Grove South) 13 kills, Chloey Myers (West Aurora) 11 kills and Olivia Witek (Lemont) 9 kills, powered their way through the four-set title victory. Witek totaled four blocks and setter Ashley Bylsmahad (Glenbard East) 36 assists as COD hit .246 with 43 kills.
The Chaps, who are ranked No. 3 in the latest Division III poll, will have nearly two weeks off until they play in Rochester, Minn., for the nationals Nov. 10 to 12.
"It's been a long time coming to get to this point," Koskinaris said. "It sure felt good to win this at home."