Published On: Thu, May 11th, 2023

PBSC Women’s Beach Volleyball graduates give insight on their historic NJCAA national championship win

Nine graduating sophomores on the Palm Beach State College women’s beach volleyball team leave PBSC with one of the best memories of their college experience: being crowned the National Junior College Athletic Association’s National Champions.

It was the first time since 1996 that any PBSC sports team had won a national championship. Not only did they win the NJCAA competition, held April 20-22 at Hickory Point Beach in Tavares, Fla., they beat all six opponents 3-0. Sophomores Angelina Botolino and Lola Vidamour were named the Pair of the Tournament, while Head Coach Drew Colvin was named Coach of the Tournament.

The nine graduates are Botolino, Vidamour, Madeline Koons. Rita Gonzalez Cuevas, Dena Otte, Nina Vallesi, Allison Bryant, Anna Moreira and Alice Schneider. All of the women received their Associate in Arts degree.

The graduates sat down to answer a few questions about being on the team, their historic win and what they have learned from each other.

What was it like being crowned the winning team in the NJCAA Championship game?

It felt like all the hard work that we put in paid off. It was incredible, sensational and an experience that I will always remember. – Angelina Botolino

It was a moment in which I felt mixed emotions. I was overwhelmed by both positive and negative feelings. We achieved our biggest goal and that was amazing, especially after the wonderful season we had and the amazing teammates I got to play with. However, I also felt so sad and upset knowing that this was going to be my last season at PBSC. – Nina Vallesi

What advice or motivation did Coach Colvin give to you or the team in general before the final game?

He made us feel confident. He also told us to have fun and show up because we were more than ready and prepared to win this championship. – Alice Schneider

He told us to have fun because for most of us it was going to be our last time playing college volleyball and that this is something we will always remember. – Rita Gonzales Cuevas

What has being on a championship volleyball team taught you?

It taught me that hard work, motivation and passion can get you places. I also learned to cherish the moments with the people you love around you, especially my teammates that I was around the most. – Madeline Koons

That being a team also mean being a family, working together, trusting each other and cherishing good and beautiful moments. – Dena Otte

Most of the graduates plan to continue playing either beach or indoor volleyball at universities such as Alderson Broaddus University and Tarleton State University this fall.

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