DUBUQUE, IA – The Emmaus volleyball team will continue on in post-season play, as yesterday the Lady Eagles earned an at-large berth to the 2017 NCCAA Division II National Tournament in Greenville, SC. Emmaus traveled to Watertown, WI this past weekend for the NCCAA North Regional Tournament, and hoped to secure an automatic bid to the national tournament by capturing the regional championship. The Lady Eagles cruised through the quarter final match with Oak Hills Christian College, and found themselves pitted against Maranatha Baptist University in the semi-finals. The Sabercats came into the match having won six of the last seven regional banners, as well as the last two consecutive national championships, and they were eager to defend their accomplishments on their home floor. "We knew Maranatha would be the favorite in the match, and we excited for the opportunity to play a hard game," commented Coach Pitman.
The Sabercats opened each set with aggressive consistency, and though the Lady Eagles fought hard they fell in straight sets (21-25, 22-25, 16-25). "Maranatha is such a strong team, and they did a great job of interrupting our tempo in the match in several areas," said Coach Pitman. "I was proud of our ladies for showing grit in a tough game, and playing a worthy opponent so well." Emmaus would score the most points in the tournament against the Sabercats, who won the 2017 regional title without dropping a single set.
The Lady Eagles would have to wait for 48 hours, but they received word from the NCCAA National Volleyball Committee late Sunday night that they would be part of the field for the national tournament along with three other at-large selections. Champions Maranatha and runners-up Providence University College will also represent the North Region in Greenville.
"We are happy to be part of a very competitive region, and are honored to represent them and Emmaus on the national stage," commented Coach Pitman. "Our team has worked so hard and I believe the ladies earned this bid with every single point that they fought for this fall! I am so proud of them and glad that they will get to have this amazing experience. We have dedicated every day of the season to the Lord, and we are blessed to be able to continue this journey together as a team. We are also so grateful to the administration and staff at Emmaus, all the players' families, and all the fans. We truly wouldn't have had this much success without their support all fall."
Emmaus finished regular season play with a record of 18-2, were #5 in the national power rankings, and #8 in the final coaches' poll. The Lady Eagles are 3-1 in post-season play to date, bringing their overall record to 21-3 on the year. A very tough group of competitors will play for the national title; even with their season accomplishments Emmaus will enter as the lowest seed in the field (#8).
The team will start their journey to Greenville and host Bob Jones University next Monday afternoon. The Lady Eagles will spend Wednesday with a practice session, a Christian service project with the other participating teams, and the national awards banquet. Pool play opens on Thursday, November 16th. Follow the links below for tournament info including schedules and results, and stay tuned to this site for updates from the road.