By Loretta Gamboe, Staff Writer
JOPLIN, Missouri--The Faith Eagles struggled against the Barclay Bears on Friday afternoon in the first round of the Midwest Christian College Conference Tournament but bounced back strong on Saturday to take fifth place and gain some momentum for the regional tournaments.
First round vs. Barclay
The Eagles lost in three sets to the Bears with scores of 16-25, 22-25, and 11-25. Faith entered the tournament with a 12-10 overall record and a 2-3 conference record, placing them in fourth place; Barclay had a 6-5 overall record and a 1-3 overall record, putting them in fifth.
Earlier this season, the Eagles hosted the Bears and won in four sets. This time around, however, the Eagles could not keep up with the merciless offense of the Bears. Although the Bears barely won the second set, they came out strong in the third set to clinch the win and advance to the championship game.
Faith struggled on offense for most of Friday night's game. Nothing seemed to be going right, as few of their hitters were able to score. Michaela Crider contributed 9 aces, while Ashley Dey, Alicia Smith, and Mackenzie Hanson had 10 or more digs each. Ultimately, the game came down to hits: The Eagles hit just .010, while the Bears hit .164.
Consolation round vs. Calvary
The Eagles made short work of the Calvary University Warriors in Saturday morning's matchup, defeating them in just 3 sets to win third place in the MCCC Tournament.
After losing to Barclay in the first round of the MCCC Tournament on Friday, the Eagles' offense and defense put together a united front to bring down the Warriors on Saturday morning. Mental toughness and tenacity played a key role for the Eagles as they scraped through the first two sets 25-23. The Eagles fought through to win the third set 25-18 to secure the win and place third in the tournament.
The Eagles and the Warriors came out neck and neck in the first set, each hitting .043. Faith managed to pull ahead and grab the lead at 25-23 for a narrow victory. In the second set, the Eagles hit .042 with 8 kills, while the Warriors hit -.055 with 9 kills; the Eagles scooped another slim win at 25-23. In the third set, something clicked for the Eagles as their front line exploded, hitting .269 to soar past the Warriors 25-18 and win the match.
Bekah Smith led the Eagles on the offensive front, contributing 10 kills, and Alicia Smith had 17 digs and 7 kills. Overall, the team hit .091 with 28 kills, the best percentage they've seen this month. Ashley Dey and Abby Booth had 14 and 12 digs respectively, while Michaela Crider had 14 assists.
Up next, Faith will host the NCCAA North Regional Tournament this coming weekend with games starting on Friday, November 2.