ROCKFORD - Rock Valley College will be the site of the NJCAA Division 3 national tournament in March.


The national tournament is scheduled for March 15, 16 and 17.

Of course, based on recent history, these may just be home games for the Golden Eagles. In the eight seasons under coach Misty Opat, Rock Valley has reached the NJCAA Division 3 title game five times, winning four times (2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017).

This year's team promises to be a challenge though for Opat. The Golden Eagles return just four sophomores, Paige Wogen (DeKalb), Madison Vicencio (Harlem), Emily Cox (Erie) and Anastasia Karaivanova (Bulgaria).

The 11 incoming freshman includes a pair from Chicago Schurz High School, sisters from Bonduel, Wisconsin, four NIC-10 stars, Madi Hecox (East), Q Avery (Freeport), Jessie Schiro (Boylan) and Catlyn Paluzzi (Guilford) as well as 6-1 Pecatonica center Abby Poner.

The Golden Eagles open their season Nov. 1 at Rock Valley against Bryant and Stratton College.

The men's program, which went 23-9 last in the first season under coach Evan Lavery, opens in Milwaukee on Oct. 31. Lavery's squad has its first home game on Nov. 4 against Kishwaukee College.

Lavery has some key players returning, including DeMari Davis (Indianapolis Southport), Deante Barnes (Belvidere), Elijah Pappas (Guilford) and its two point guards, Terence Lakes (Glenbard East) and Malique Ross (Oswego).

Lavery's newcomers include another Indianapolis Southport big man, 6-7 center Dylan Davidson, and three Rockford stars, Charles Burnell (East), Nick Phillips (Guilford) and Josh Streeter Lutheran.

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