DUBUQUE, IA – For the first time in school history, the Pollard Fieldhouse at Emmaus will have a banner with the word 'volleyball' on it. The Lady Eagles defeated Faith Baptist Bible College on Saturday in the Midwest Christian College Conference Tournament championship match by a score of 3-1.
Having claimed the conference regular season title with an undefeated record, Emmaus received a bye through the first round of the tournament, and drew a match with a tenacious Calvary University squad in the semi-finals on Friday evening. The Lady Warriors played a hard match, and the two teams were neck and neck for a large portion of set two. Emmaus was able to maintain control however, and completed the sweep with accurate hitting as they went .272 on attack while holding Calvary to .021 (25-12, 25-18, 25-14).
The Lady Eagles met Faith in the championship match, and the Eagles from Ankeny were ready to play, having upset #2 seed Manhattan Christian College in five sets the night before. The two teams went back and forth for the first half of set one, but Faith began to pull away as Emmaus had a string of untimely errors, followed by a hot run with multiple kills by Faith's Abby Booth and Bekah Smith. With Faith up by 6 points (18-24), Emmaus mounted a furious and inspired comeback to knot the score at 24. Faith took the set as the Lady Eagles made two hitting errors, but the momentum had shifted and Emmaus was ready to see a different result in set two.
Indeed it was a different Emmaus squad that hit the floor for the second set, as the Lady Eagles pounded 18 kills with a .350 percentage, winning 25-14. The momentum continued into set three, as a long serving run by Nicole Gordon gave Emmaus a 10-0 advantage. Hannah Postma would continue where Nicole left off with a seven point run, and Emmaus cruised to a 25-5 victory. Set four saw Faith return to form, but in the end the Lady Eagles offense prevailed as they hit 19 kills in the set to win 25-20.
"One of our goals this season was to win the conference tournament, and it was a sweet moment to earn the victory on our home floor," commented Coach Pitman. "I am proud of our team for never giving up when things got tough, for believing in themselves and each other, and for striving to put the team first and honor the Lord with their play. It is an honor and a privilege to coach this group of fine young women."
Emmaus had strong contributions from multiple players in the final. Captain Hannah Postma had a career high 55 assists, with Wynne Vandersall also hitting a career best 28 kills. Lyndra Davis pounded 10 kills, and Alli Howard and Paige Sweeney both had huge games with 9 kills each. Nicole Gordon had 3 service aces, and Savannah Petersen had 27 digs and 5 assists.
The Lady Eagles had several players earn recognition for their play in the conference this season. Junior Elizabeth Brame received an Honorable Mention vote. Savvy Petersen was awarded 2nd Team All-Conference, and Paige Sweeney and Wynne Vandersall received 1st team honors. Hannah Postma was voted as the MCCC Most Valuable Player for 2017.
The Lady Eagles now turn to face the hard road of the NCCAA DII North Region Tournament. Emmaus will start play in the single elimination tournament next Friday in Watertown, WI. Seeding and match times will be announced early in the week.