The Lady Eagles achieved their goal at the ACCA National Tournament in Joplin, MO, heading back to Iowa with a 4th place finish. “We knew the road to reach the semi-finals would be hard and we would have to win at least two matches in pool play to have a chance,” said Coach Pitman. “The top five seeds all came in with winning records and we believed any team could win the whole thing.”
The ACCA Awards Brunch was Thursday morning and Emmaus had three players honored. Bethany Scheer received the Scholar Athlete Award, Katie Ryan was named second team All-American, and senior captain Shannon Flogel was named first team All-American. “Well done and well deserved,” commented Coach Pitman. “Shannon and Katie had great seasons and were supported by the great play of their teammates as well.”
Pool play began on Thursday evening, and Emmaus was tested right from the start in their first match against the #1 seed and host team, Ozark Christian College. “We were mentally prepared for the challenge Ozark would present to us,” said Coach Pitman. “We were nervous at the beginning but played an incredible match the rest of the night.” The Lady Eagles fell 14-25 in the first set but charged back to win in an exciting five set match (25-14, 25-13, 23-25, 15-12). “We played with pure heart and stayed mentally tough in this match and I believe it was the highlight of the season for us,” commented Coach Pitman. “It was an amazing feeling for Hannah and me to watch the ladies play unified ball and give it their all on the floor. Our soccer team went hoarse with cheering and they were huge in helping us keep momentum.”
The win against Ozark put Emmaus in a good position on Friday as they finished out pool play. The first match against Champion Baptist (Hot Springs, AK) was close for the first half of the first two sets, with the Lady Eagles pulling away at the end of each (25-18, 25-16). Set three saw Emmaus hit a hot serving streak to close out the match quickly (25-8).
The Lady Eagles now faced a familiar foe, Calvary Bible (Kansas City, MO), but were unable to come up with a victory. “Calvary is a very smart and well coached team and they did a great job of exploiting our weaknesses,” commented Coach Pitman. “We played well, but Calvary played outstanding and deserved the win.” Emmaus lost 1-3 (19-25, 22-25, 25-21, 21-25).
The wins against Ozark and Champion were enough to propel the Lady Eagles into the semi-finals on Saturday, where they were matched against #2 seed Hillsdale Baptist (Moore, OK). “Hillsdale is a quick athletic team with very aggressive offense and serving,” said Coach Pitman. Emmaus played exceptional, urgent ball, giving all they had, but in the end they were not able to match the Lady Saints as they fell 0-3 (18-25, 21-25, 18-25).
Thirty minutes later Emmaus faced Calvary again in the third place and final match of the season. “We played with all we had left, which wasn’t a lot,” said Coach Pitman. “I am so proud of the ladies for fighting until the last point to end an incredible season.” Emmaus and Calvary battled back and forth with both teams having hot and cold streaks, but in the end the Lady Warriors caught the momentum at the right time, defeating the Lady Eagles in five sets (25-17, 24-26, 26-24, 19-25, 8-15). “There is no shame in losing to a great team like Calvary who truly played outstanding volleyball in this tournament,” said Coach Pitman. “Our ladies showed great character and heart the whole season and Emmaus should be very proud of what they have accomplished for our young volleyball program.”
The Lady Eagles end the 2012 season with a record of 17 wins and 8 losses and were competitive in every match they played, being swept 0-3 only three times. “I speak for Hannah and myself when I say we have been blessed by this group and have appreciated how they desired to have godly hearts both when things were going well and when things were hard,” said Coach Pitman. “We are looking forward to seeing future Emmaus teams build on the success of this season.”