Aaron McPherson – Reporter
The Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC) volleyball season is reaching its end and the Penguins are marching their way towards the championship playoff tournament.
As of Oct. 26, Clark is tied for second in the South Region standings with the Lane Titans at six wins, four losses. The current top-ranked team is the Linn-Benton Roadrunners at 9-1. The Clackamas Cougars and the Chemeketa Storm are close behind at 5-4 and the Umpqua Riverhawks are at 4-5.
Last season, the Penguins lost in the consolation bracket two-sets-to-one to the Bellevue Bulldogs, a team that Clark defeated in the championship bracket second round, 3-1.
Clark sophomore Jordan Johnson said she is hopeful that the Penguins will continue to work hard and return to the playoffs. “I think that as a team, we need to be more consistent,” Johnson said. She also pointed out the importance of being good teammates to each other.
Each south region team will play a total of 14 games, competing against their rivals once at home and once more on the road. Along with their Oct. 26 road game against Linn-Benton, the Penguins have four remaining games. Others, such as Umpqua, have five and the Southwestern Oregon Lakers still have six games, 1-7.
Clark will end the regular season at home against the Mt. Hood Saints, who are currently in last place at 1 – 8. This match-up will be on Nov. 7 at 6:30 p.m. in the O’Connell Sports Center gym. The Nov. 7 game will also be their Sophomore Night, which will feature a public farewell to the four graduating sophomores.
“It’s just a nice tribute to the all the sophomores that put in the hard work, that lasted the whole year, two years, just sending them off; something to remember Clark by when they move on,” Clark Athletic Director Chris Jacob said. Player recognitions take place after the game so players can share the moment with their friends, family and the public.
Teams that finish the regular season in the top four of their respective regions will advance to the NWAC championship tournament, which will take place Nov. 15 – 18 in Tacoma, Washington at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center.
In the event of a tied-record between two or more of the playoff bound teams, there is a series of tiebreaker procedures. Should a tie exist between a potential fourth and fifth-place team, there will be an extra game played between the two, with the tiebreaker rules being applied to determining the host team.
The bracket is a double-elimination 16-team tournament layout. Teams that lost a game can still reach the championship game and content for the NWAC title, a feat that Clark accomplished three years ago. They lost 3-1 against the then three-time defending NWAC champions, the Blue Mountain Timberwolves.
Updates on regional standings, as well as details on the tiebreaker procedures, can be found at www.nwacsports.org. Fans can watch tournament games via YouTube on the NWAC Sports Network channel.