The Faith volleyball team gave a gallant effort in the NCCAA North Region semi-final 3-0 loss to #1 regional and nationally seeded Marantha Baptist University this past Friday. "I was proud of the effort our team gave in the semi-final match. We practiced several new offensive and defensive strategies and were able to see results. Our team fought hard with a desire to win," noted coach Nihart.
Faith was able to reach the semi-final round by defeating Trinity Bible College 3-0. The Eagles had a season high .350% attack with contributions coming from 4 individuals. "The match against Trinity allowed us to get back to executing and winning. Trinity was playing shorthanded with injuries and they should be commended for the effort given," stated Nihart.
Moving forward the Eagles had a tough assignment with #1 Maranatha Baptist University led by their All-American middle hitter Alison Renz. The Eagles deployed triple and double blocks against Renz who still garnered 12 kills on a .379 attack%. Faith started the match strong in set one taking a short 12-11 lead, however behind Renz and other hitters the Crusaders made scoring runs eventually taking set one 25-15.
Maranatha pressed the Eagles in set two and took advantage of Eagle turnovers for an easy 25-14 victory. In set three the Eagles played with passion knowing their season was on the brink of ending. Faith was able to take late leads but in the end unable to sustain the Crusader pressure. "We did not quit. We understood they were a strong opponent but we talked about demonstrating a testimony of commitment, persistence and all the little things that would help people understand what we are about. We accomplished those and made the last set competitive. I am excited about how we responded." noted Nihart.
The Eagles were led by senior Alyssa Larson with 8 kills and 2 blocks. "Alyssa has been a solid contributor to our program for 4 years. She is going to be missed for her play on the court. However, she will be missed even more for her leadership and testimony as an athlete. She has just been a very solid rock and a perfect example of what we want a Faith volleyball player to be," stated Nihart. Larson was selected as a 2nd team NCCAA North Regional team member. Joining her on the second team was setter Emilie Morton.
The Eagles end the year with a 12-15 record. "It was not the final results we wanted, but given the early season injuries I thought we finished strong. I was thankful for the opportunity to coach this team, and we will make strides to push ourselves back to winning ways in 2017," stated Nihart.