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Ranger opens NTJCAC play with sweep of Vernon

Macey Jordon and the Ranger College volleyball team went into Thursday's Northern Texas Junior College Athletic Conference opener against Vernon College looking to send a message. It was delivered loud and clear.

Ranger College took the first step toward nailing down a berth in the postseason tournament with a resounding 3-0 victory over Vernon in front of a loud crowd in the Ron Butler Gymnasium. The RC women took the best-of-five series by scores of 25-16, 25-17 and 25-21.

"I think we played really well," said Jordon, a freshman hitter from Denver City, Texas. "It was a good team win."

Vernon, now 8-8 for the season and 0-1 in NTJCAC play, grabbed the early lead in both Game 1 and Game 2, but withered under the Lady Rangers' offensive pressure. Jordon teamed with Hayley Daniel, Hannah Brink and freshman Kelsey Fitts to dominate the net. Daniel, who was selected the NTJCAC Player of the Week a week ago, and Brink both ended several Vernon runs with clutch kills off hard spikes.

Vernon put up a tough challenge in Game 3. The Lady Chaps fought to within 23-21 before Briana Maxwell and Fitts put them away. With Ranger leading 23-21, Maxwell broke Vernon's serve with a lob at the net that found a hole in the VC defense. Moments later, Fitts blocked a spike attempt to give RC its sixth victory at home in seven outings.

Jordon credited the crowd – which consisted of a large group of the men's and women's soccer teams – with helping the team with its energy.

"It was good energy," she said. "The crowd was great. It was a lot of fun on the court."

With the victory, Ranger improved to 12-7 for the year and, more importantly, moved into a tie atop the NTJCAC standings with rival Hill College.

"It was so important to start on a good note," Jordon said. "We have a really tough conference. To start with a three-set win was a great start to it."

Hill defeated Temple in its conference-opener, 3-0, on Thursday.

Ranger College will face off with Hill for the top spot in the conference standings on Monday, beginning at 6 p.m.