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Eastfield triumphs in first round and quarterfinals

CEDAR RAPDIS, IOWA – The top-seeded Eastfield Harvester Bees advanced past the first round and the quarterfinals of the NJCAA DIII Volleyball National Championship after defeating the Dutchess Community Falcons and the Delta College Pioneers 3-0 in both games.

They outscored Dutchess in the first game, winning by margins of more than 10 points in all three sets. Delta maintained a closer game against them and took the lead early in the first two sets. Eastfield rallied against them to gain another sweep with scores of 25-17 in the first two sets and 25-11 in the third set to advance to the semifinals.

Head coach Phil Nickel believes his team played really well for its first performance in a more significant setting than their home court.

“We wanted to make sure we could control our emotions and I feel like we’ve done a good job of that,” he said. “In the first match, they really got in and played well. In the second match, that team paced us a little bit, but I feel like we did a good job of adjusting.”

Nickel does not see anything his team needs to improve on for its next game, but he believes it needs to stay disciplined and keep a strong performance regardless of its opposing team.

“I think we just need to make sure we stay focused and continue to push and not take anybody lightly,” Nickel said. “We just need to continue to work hard and play our style of volleyball.”

Offensive hitter Carli Banks scored eight kills in the first round and nine kills in the quarterfinals for a combined total of 17 kills and 18.5 points between both games.

“I feel like I really pushed myself and tried to perfect my technique to help the team tonight,” she said. “I really love the sport and the girls that I surround myself with. They really encouraged me to just be better every day.”

Middle blocker Tasmine Maxwell had a combined 11 kills in both games and had three blocks assists in the quarterfinals against Delta.

“People say I did good, but I will say that wasn’t my best game,” she said. “I have more potential in me and I cannot wait to show the other teams what I have.”

With the two wins and the best record of all teams in the tournament, Eastfield has an advantage going into the remainder of the tournament with its performance and overall record of 33-0.

“I feel really great about our chances,” Banks said. “I feel like the momentum we have, it just keeps going and our energy just keeps rising as we get further and further in the tournament. So, I feel like we’re gonna do really great.”

The Harvester Bees will play the Alexandria Technical & Community College Legends in the semifinals at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow.

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