"All's well that ends well" is a familiar quote and uniquely describes the 2013 Faith volleyball season. Entering and finishing with seven players intact demonstrated God's grace in recording a 20-15 record. Coach Lanny Nihart and head assistant Erin Davis knew accountability would be high. "Erin and I knew all seven players would significantly need to contribute their specific talents to individual roles! Sickness, injury or leave of absence would not be an option during the season! God sovereignly brought a team together which in August appeared to be in doubt. Each returner and incoming freshmen had specific testimony how the Lord led them to the team," remarked coach Nihart.
The Eagles 20-15 record produced a second consecutive winning season (four of last five) and the highest single season win mark since 2003 (25) preserving the volleyball program's 60% winning history. The 2013 schedule required eight matches against NAIA and NCAA Division III opponents, nine versus NCCAA National Tournament participants and 11 against NCCAA Top 10 teams. The Eagles reached the North Central Region championship for the second consecutive year, and recorded quality wins against NAIA, NCAA Division III and NCCAA Top 10 opponent including winning 75% of five set matches.
Senior Julia Roacha was elected to the NCCAA DII All-American 1st team (2nd team in 2011 & 2012), AVCA All-American 1st team, North Central Co-MVP (2nd time), ACCA 1st Team All-American, MCCC Conference 1st team, and NCCAA Scholar Athlete Award. Julia became the all-time kill leader with 1,605 passing the previous mark of 1,506 established by Kristen Nilius (2003-2006) and third all-time in kill per set average at 3.50.
Junior Stephanie Knupp was elected to the NCCAA DII All-American 2nd team (also 2012), North Central All Region (2nd time), ACCA 2nd Team All-American, and MCCC Conference 2nd team. Stephanie recorded the single season assists record with 1,039. Sophomore JoJo Hodak received first time North Central All Region honors and senior Natalie Bunjer earned the NCCAA Scholar Athlete Award.
The Eagles had opportunity for Christian service via a one day volleyball skills camp to residents at the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo and ministered at the Olivet Baptist Church in Shawnee Mission, Kansas. The team taught Junior and Senior High Sunday school class, provided special songs, testimonies and mission trip reports during the Sunday morning worship hour.
"The 2013 team was a group of individuals who demonstrated the work ethic of our volleyball program. During the 2013 campaign each member at one time played sick or injured. We came within a few matches of reaching our annual goal of the NCCAA DII National Tournament. This team impacted opponents, fans and their coaching staff with their commitment, playing intensity and pursuit to excellence. Erin and I are very proud of their accomplishments and humbled by the opportunity to be called their "coach".
Special thanks and recognition from coach Nihart is given to assistant Erin Davis, volunteer coach Stephanie Nihart, and staff. "Erin continues to excel in her coaching knowledge which in turn rewards our team. In completing her 12th season she has demonstrated faithfulness and sacrifice. I appreciate the sacrifices coach Stephanie gave this year on a volunteer basis. Many times Stephanie and Erin were asked to participate in drills due to the lack of numbers." "I want to thank our team manager Kathleen Howell who has been very faithful for 3 years and Kendra McLeish who provided accurate statistics and practiced every day!"