Oct 08, 2013
The Faith volleyball had an opportunity to make an impact in the 2013 NCCAA DII volleyball field with wins against Top 10 ranked opponents during the Grace University tournament this past weekend in Omaha, Nebraska. The Eagles played well at times and met challenges but faltered against # 4 Manhattan, # 6 Ozark and #10 Hillsdale.
The Eagles began pool play against Manhattan Christian College and found the Crusaders defeating them 3-0. Faith started slowly and then built some resistance throughout the match but never really got any offensive prowlness and no defensive answers to Manhattan's strong hitting attack. Senior Julia Rocha was the only hitter with a positive attack of 30.5% and nine kills.
The Eagles then need to respond against Hillsdale. In a hard fought back and forth match Hillsdale defeated Faith 3-2 with a 15-11 final 5th set victory. Hillsdale proved ready to the task winning set one 25-16 and setting the Eagles confidence back. The Eagles did respond winning sets two and four to force a decisive 5th set. Faith jumped out quickly to early 5-2 and 8-5 leads. Changing court sides Hillsdale was able to land three straight ace serves. Faith never captured the lead going forward and last tied the set at 10. With Hillsdale serving at 12-11 they held Faith scoreless to win the set 15-11 and the match. "That match was dissapointing to us. We had the lead and could not sustain primarily due to fundamental serve receive. We need to address basics if and when we can defeat high ranked teams," noted coach Lanny Nihart. Rocha led the Eagles offensively with 19 kills while Kim Post added nine kills and 14 digs.
Faith then concluded pool play on Saturday against Ozark, a team which had defeated the Eagles twice earlier in the season. Faith responsded well from the dissapointment of Friday's game by competing in set one and winnig set two 25-12. "Ozark currently has the highest burbidge points in the NCCAA DII volleyball. To compete in the manner we did in set two shows we have some resolve. We just need to make it more consistent throughout an entire match," stated Nihart. Faith kept pace and held leads throughout sets three and four but could never overtake Ozark. Rocha led with 16 kills but help came from Post with nine kills and 13 digs and sophomore JoJo Hodak contributing nine kills and a team leading 29 digs. Freshmen Alyssa Larson added eight kills which was encouraging. "We need individuals like Alyssa and others to add punch to our offense and assist Julia's (Roacha) production. Our goal in the next four to five weeks is win big games, conference and regional championships and make it to nationals. That is a tall task but want that is attainable," cited Nihart.