Rock Valley College won its first national title in womens tennis last week, taking the NJCAA Division III crown in College Station, Texas, by three points (27-24) over N4C rival College of DuPage.
Former Machesney Park Harlem standout Karyl Schenck and former Rockford Guilford star Natasa Rapo combined to win at No. 1 doubles for Rock Valley, completing an unbeaten season. Aili Tran (Rockton Hononegah) won an individual championship at No. 6 singles.
Rapo and Schenck finished the season 15-0 and Tran went 12-0. They all were named first-team All-America. Rapo also was named second-team All-America at No. 2 singles.
Lindsay Jacobson (Rockford Jefferson) at No. 5 singles and the No. 3 doubles team of Tran and Marissa Cullen also picked up second-team All-America honors. Keeley Murphy won the consolation bracket.
This is by far the best womens team Ive ever coached here, and this was the first one in school history to get through the regular season undefeated, said coach Steve Vee, who won his third Coach of the Year award. Hes also a member of the NJCAA Tennis Hall of Fame.
It was the schools seventh national championship. The others came in womens volleyball (1996, 1997), mens tennis (2000, 2002) and mens golf (2000, 2001). Since 1996, RVC has had 57 athletes named NJCAA All-Americans, and the number of womens tennis All-Americans now stands at 14.
The RVC mens tennis team also will compete in the junior college national championships this week in Plano, Texas.