Oct 29, 2013
The Faith volleyball team captured a close third place in the MCCC conference tournament this past weekend after defeating #4 seed and host Calvary Bible College in a close 3-1 match. By winning the Eagles held serve with their #3 seed entering the tournament. "Calvary really played us very well on Saturday and could have gained the upset. I thought we responded well in the first and fourth sets. Getting that first set win was huge in terms of keeping momentum on our side," noted coach Lanny Nihart. Senior Julia Rocha was named to the MCCC first team and junior setter Stephanie Knupp to the second team. Sophomore JoJo Hodak received honorable mention.
Faith trailed the Warriors for much of the first set. Down 24-22 the Eagles were able to tie the score at 24-24. Each team was able to gain a one point advantage before Faith captured consecutive side outs for the 28-26 win, despite a low 2.7% attack. In set two Calvary jumped out to quick 8-2 and 12-6 leads. The Eagles were never able to slow Calvary's offense and lost 25-20. Set three saw a reversal with the Eagles jumping to quick leads to thwart the potential Warrior upset. In set four Faith had it highest attack % of the match at 20.5%, but the Warriors still led the majority of the set. Not until Julia Rocha was able to gain consecutive kills were the Eagles in control. A Warrior miscue and Eagle kill ended the set and match 27-25. "Stephanie (Knupp) had one of her finest matches as a setter. Defensively she was amazing and Alyssa (Larson) has really been coming on as a freshmen. She was the one whose number we began to call through this match with her effectiveness," mentioned Nihart. Faith was led offensively by Julia Rocha with 17 kills and 10 digs. Knupp had 38 assists and season high 33 digs while Larson contributed nine kills on a 25% attack.
Earlier in the tournament Faith was defeated in the semi-finals by nemesis Ozark Christian College. Ozark had previously defeated the Eagles three times during the season. Again, Ozark demonstrated themeselves as the superior team holding the Eagles down offensively and creating match up difficulties at the net. "Ozark is very tough at the net with their style of offense. They can go big in the middle, have left handed right side hitting and are quick to the outside. We are always limited defensively in our front line when matching up with them," noted Nihart. Ozark controlled the first set winning 25-9 creating numerous Eagle miscues. In set two Faith made appropriate defensive and offensive adjustments only to lose 25-23. Set three Faith pushed but still lost 25-19. The Eagles were led by senior Rocha with eight kills while freshmen Alyssa Larson added five. Faith had a season low 29 digs and 22 assists.
The the opening round Faith defeated Central Christian College in effective style 3-0. The Eagles hit a season high 34.8% attack in set two and limited to the Saints in scoring to 25-9, 25-10 in the first two sets. The Saints then pushed Faith in set three to 25-21 before Faith captured the win.