The Faith Eagles winning streak suddenly ended with a disappointing 25-22, 25-19,25-18 defeat at the hands of Manhattan Christian College. The Thunder entered the contest tied with the Eagles at the top of the Midwest Christian College Conference standings and ranked #5 in the latest NCCAA national Top Ten Poll.
"We have been focusing on winning the MCCC Conference title. We knew Manhattan was the team to beat and we would need to play extremely well. I thought we did a good job starting the match with an intensity to match their play. They are well coached and disciplined, we just did not keep up our consistency throughout the entire match," noted coach Nihart.
Faith took early leads and the match was tied at 13-13 when Manhattan was able to exploit the Eagles for 5 straight ace serves from Wyonnette Sommerfeld. The Eagles mounted a comeback within 21-20, however the Thunder captured set one with a combination of Eagle turnovers and kills from leading match hitters Sommerfeld and Karly Gibbs.
Set two played out very similar only this time the Eagles could only muster 4 kills. " We did not have consistency during the match we needed to beat a top team. Manhattan keeps you off balance with the ability to hit from all three positions and that delayed our offensive attack. Defensively we can dig with any team, the difficulty is finding a way to end the rallies with strong finishes," notes Nihart.
Set three was a mirror of the previous sets with Faith playing hard and at times rallying for several points. While holding a strong attacking Thunder team to an attack of .113%, Faith hit -.033. Another glaring statistic is the Thunder captured 11 serving aces during the match. Faith was led by Alyssa Larson with 5 kills and sophomore Charity Appell with 5 kills and 10 digs.
The loss places the Eagles at 3-1 in MCCC play and 7-8 overall. " We intend to continue pushing for the conference crown and hope we can get some help from other team's in the league defeating Manhattan. We still have much to earn and gain through this season and I know our team is determined to make things happen," suggested Nihart. Faith enters into a series of MCCC contests over the next two weeks. "We start at Emmaus on Tuesday night. We need to find a way to bounce back on the winning track and that includes strengthening our weaknesses offensively and serve receive," stated Nihart.