The Eagle's volleyball team team has found the 2016 season a rough experience up through this past weekend. Entering the North Central University Invitation Tournament with a record of 1-4, the Eagles have experienced several player injuries resulting in numerous rotations. "We have not used any our team trials and injuries as an excuse. The players understand we still need to work hard and smart regardless of who is on the court. Obviously, not having personnel in their normal positions can be frustrating," noted coach Nihart. Facing stiff competition the Eagles were able to steal a few sets in some of the matches before ending the tournament with a win over Trinity Bible College. Faith is now 2-7 on the year.
On Friday, Faith lost to Grinnell College in the first round 3-0. With Emilie Morton, the starting setter, out with injury the Eagles ran a 6-2 offense behind Charity Appell and Shannon Steffen. "With limited reps each of these players have done well getting the ball to the hitters and making on court decisions,' noted Nihart. Faith would battle at times with Grinnell's taller front line but ultimately could not sustain an offensive attack.
The Eagles next played host and rival NCCAA regional foe North Central University. The Rams used their experience and dominant net play to take set one and two only to find the Eagles return the favor in set three. NCU was able to rebound and find holes in the Eagles defense allowing numerous scoring runs in set four to take the match 3-1.
On Saturday morning the Eagles played defending regional champion Providence University College. Again the Eagles found themselves outplayed by the talented Providence team and quickly fell 3-0. "We had difficulty finding the blocks with Providence's quick offense making it difficult for our defensive backs to adjust to where the attacks were made," noted Nihart.
The Eagles ended the day against Trinity Bible College and victory for the first time in almost two weeks. The Eagles were led by outside hitter Samantha Betz returning from an ankle injury and playing for the first time in 2016. Coach Nihart was glad to get back an injured front row player. "Sam gives us additional hitting power at left front. Her presence allows us to create offense opportunities we do not have when she is out. It also gives players who picked up Samantha's role to go back to their original positions. It was great to taste victory again, now we need to create our own winning streak next week."
Faith will entertain Union College on Tuesday evening at 6:00 PM, a team they have already defeated this year. As part of the 2016 homecoming festivities, the Eagles open up Midwest Christian Conference league play on Friday at 6:00 PM against Emmaus Bible College of Dubuque, Iowa and then Saturday entertain Barclay College from Haviland, Kansas at 11:30 AM.