Volleyball Team Competes At National Tournament

January 01, 2006 | Alyssa Jacobsen

The women’s volleyball team at Walla Walla College made history by qualifying for the United States Collegiate Athletic Association tournament, held in Fort Wayne, Ind.

“We’re the first Seventh-day Adventist volleyball team to reach the post season,” says Wolves coach Don Hepker.

Not only did the team make it to the tournament, but the players also represented WWC in a way that made the other teams, coaches, and officials take notice.

Due to a miscommunication with the tournament organizers, the Wolves’ preference not to play Saturday games was not accommodated. So when the team qualified for the championship round, set for Saturday afternoon, it dropped instead to the losers' bracket. “No one had heard of us before, but they really respected our decision not to play,” says Hepker. “We didn’t chose to lose; we chose to honor our Sabbath.”

People were also impressed by the team’s attitude, complimenting the players on their good behavior throughout the tournament. “Many people came up and asked if we were a religious group,” Hepker adds. “They said they could just tell.”

Ending the tournament with four wins and one loss, Hepker says, “Winning is wonderful, but that’s not where the success of this tournament was. We represented our school and our faith.”