Lady's Grab #1 Seed in the Region, Go Undefeated at Pre-Regional

Lady's Grab #1 Seed in the Region, Go Undefeated at Pre-Regional
The Faith volleyball team journeyed north to Minneapolis this past weekend for three North Central Regional and one non-regional match.  The Eagles were looking to build on their 3-2 overall record and 1-0 record in region play.  The Lady Eagles swept all four matches, pushing their season record to 7-2.
"We met our goal of winning all three regional matches, defeating Findlandia University provided an additional boost.  As a team this early in the season we really are responding well to the challenges that are being presented.  The coaching staff was pleased with our collective response throughout the weekend," cited coach Lanny Nihart.
Faith defeated Findlandia University 3-0 with the second set the closest contest at 25-23.  The Eagles held their opponent to 12.8% hitting attack while converting 11 service aces led by sophomore Kim Post with five and junior setter Stephanie Knupp with three.  Finding themselves challenged in set two after holding a commanding edge in set one the Eagles were able to pull out with late kills from team leading hitter Julia Rocha. Set three found the Ealges back to holding ground and capturing a 25-13 set win. Sophomore JoJo Hodak led the Eagles defensively with 11 digs.
Next the Eagles played defending North Central Region champion and rival Providence University College.  Faith continued their winning momentum capturing set one 25-23 which was the beginning of a long five set match.  The Eagles hit a solid 23% attack while holding Providence to 9.8%.  "Providence is always a strong hitting team and they wear you down.  Holding them to under 10% attack was significant and even then we barely escaped with the win," noted Nihart. 
The contest turned quickly as Providence heated up their offense with
23% and 28% attack while the Eagles dropped to 5.7% and 6.1%.  With Hodak leading the way Faith captured the fourth set 25-17 to set up an exciting 5th deciding set.  The Eagles jumped out to 5-2 and 6-2 leads and found themselves leading at the court exchange 8-6.  Providence continued to put offensive pressure on Faith and knoted the game at 10-10.  After two consecutive kills by Rocha Faith took advantage of miscues by Providence to capture the set 15-10 and a valuable win.  Rocha led with with 17 kills and 10 digs followed by Hodak's 13 and 18 digs.  "This was a huge win for us in terms of knowing how we align with power hitting teams.  The ladies were great in handling the must win fourth set and then finishing the fifth." noted Nihart. "I was extremely proud of their management of the match."
Faith then took on region members Trinity Bible College and host North Central University on Saturday.  The Eagles defeated Trinity 3-1 and NCU 3-0.  However it was the one set loss to Trinity that defined the day.  "We were ahead by a large margin and for the first time this season decided not to play hard.  It did not take long before we lost control of the set and lost.  We were disturbed with the lapse and lost some confidence before the NCU game, but again the ladies responded very well," cited Nihart.
Faith came out strong in the NCU match capturing set one and two by scores of 25-16 and 25-7.   Set three was again an example of team play with the Eagles capturing a 25-10 win.  Rocah again led the Eagles with 19 kills and a 48.6% attack, sophomore Kim Post added 14 digs and Hodak 13. "Everyone really responded well during the NCU match.  They (NCU) had just won two consecutive matches and were ready to pull of an upset.  The coaches were excited with how everyone responsed after the difficult set with Trinity.  We had signficiant plays made by our libero on serve receive and Julia was absolutely showing herself as a dominant senior.  I credit our teams offensive succes to Stephanie (Knupp) who has done a great job with getting the balls to our hitters at timely spots," quoted Nihart.
Faith will now travel to Cedar Rapids on Tuesday evening to take on NAIA opponent Mt. Mercy.