TOPEKA (KSNT) — People around Topeka showed their support for the Washburn volleyball team Sunday as it returned home from Tampa, Florida after earning national runner-up honors at the Division 2 NCAA National Championship.

This trip to Tampa, marked Washburn’s first time in the national championship in program history. The Ichabods ranked number one in the nation for a total of five weeks this season — their highest ranking ever.

“They’ve done a great job this year, being in the finalists of the volleyball division two,” Washburn President Jerry Farley said. “It’s just absolutely incredible. I don’t think that we’ve ever had that great a turnout and that great an event in our history.”

Even though the University of Tampa ended up winning the match in straight sets, 3-0, Washburn still held onto its spirit and finished out on a positive note. The team boarded a plane heading back to Manhattan, then took a bus to Topeka where families and friends of the players gathered to cheer them on.

“The only word to describe it is proud,” said senior middle hitter Kelsey Gordon. “We really tried. And I think that we wanted it so bad, but sometimes that’s just not how the story is written and we have to be okay with that because we have to know that there is so much more that can be learned from this.”

Gordon told KSNT News this was her last game as an Ichabod, but she was content with how her career ended.