Illinois Central College's ninth National Junior College Athletic Association team championship in school history was a first for Sue Sinclair's volleyball program.
The 33-7 Cougars completed their banner season in November with a five-set victory over Cowley College in the NJCAA Division II championship match at Wisconsin Dells, Wis. ICC's best finish previously in the DII national tournament was fourth place in 2005 and 2008.
The championship led to Sinclair's selection in December as American Volleyball Coaches Association two-year colleges national coach of the year. The pool of candidates for junior college volleyball's highest coaching honor comes from the NJCAA's three divisions, the California Community College Athletic Association and the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (Oregon and Washington).
ICC sophomore Yiting Cao, from Shanghai, China, was named AVCA two-year colleges national player of the year. College athletes, however, must be from Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford counties to be eligible for Tri-County awards.