The Faith Eagles entered the MCCC Conference volleyball tournament seeded #3 but ended up finishing fourth after an upset on the other side of the bracket had them facing the #1 seed in the third place game. The Eagles won their first round battle with #6 Calvary University and then faced nemesis Emmaus Bible College in the semi-finals, a team they had split matches during the regular season.
The Eagles started the rematch with Emmaus in strong fashion taking a 4-1 edge and appeared to be ready to give the higher seed a competitive night. However, Emmaus quickly regained control of the set enroute to a 25-16 win. Emmaus become even more dominant in set two bursting out to a 16-1 lead and ultimately winning 25-10 and a 2-0 set lead. "We lost our focus in the second set. We broke down in serve receive, defensively and had absolutely no attacks. We were at a negative attack percentage and in danger of losing in 3 straight" noted coach Nihart.
However, the Eagles found a way to muster up an offensive attack with a hitting percentage of 34% led by middle hitters Alyssa Larson and Taylor Pals. "We did a better job of transition with our hitters in position to attack. Our backs began to see the ball better and we were able to begin redirecting our hits and keep Emmaus scrambling defensively" cited Nihart. The Eagles captured the set win by the score of 25-15.
The Eagles riding the momentum built a 24-21 lead in the fourth set looking to force set five. Emmaus had other ideas and outscored the Eagles 5-0 to capture the match. "We were really disappointed in the loss especially having the lead in the fourth set. The inability to finish is on us and we understand the need to correct. Our last match with Emmaus went the same way with us holding leads late in the sets only to watch them snatch victory. Coach Neil has done a good job with their program and in particular with this year's team" noted Nihart.
The Eagles then played for third place against #1 Manhattan Christian College who had been upset the night before by #4 Ozark Christian College. "We made the decision to take about still leaving an impact or mark on the tournament finishes we knew it would take a huge effort against a team that was hungry to win after an upset loss. I thought we did perform and compete well against the regular season champion" stated Nihart.
Faith held leads throughout the first set only to again experience the inability to finish and fell 25-21. Manhattan easily disposed of the Eagles in set two 25-15. Faith was able to find success at different times in set three but fell 25-21 and losing the match 3-0. Faith was led by Larson with 10 kills and 8 digs while sophomore Charity Appell added 6 kills.
Larson received first team all-conference honors with junior setter Emilie Morton making the second team.
The Eagles play at William Penn University this coming Friday night prior to entering the NCCAA Regional playoffs next weekend.