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Eastfield advances to finals

CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA – The Eastfield Harvester Bees advance to the finals of the 2023 NJCAA DIII Volleyball Championship after defeating the twelfth-ranked Alexandria Technical & Community College Legends 3-1.

The Harvesters won the first set 25-18, but Alexandria outperformed them in the second set and won with a narrow score of 25-21, giving the Harvesters their first set loss of the tournament. They trailed Alexandria in the third set, but they overcame the deficit to win 25-21 and outscored them to win the third set 25-15.

“We had to grind because that team was really scrappy and took us out of what we wanted to do,” head coach Phil Nickel said. “We had to make some changes and switch things around, but the kids that came off the bench did a great job and made a change in the momentum of the game.”

Outside hitter Azoria Davis was the top scorer for Eastfield, having 14 kills for and a kill percentage of .243.

“I think we didn’t really expect much,” she said about Eastfield’s performance against Alexandria. “We kind of just assumed that they weren’t going to try, but they caught up to us and put up a really good fight.”

Davis attributed Eastfield’s rally against Alexandria to the team’s ability to adapt and adjust to different teams.

“In the huddle, we were like ‘We need to do this and we need to do that’”, Davis said. “Each person did their job and they stepped up. Even the people on the bench, when they came in, stepped up and helped us a lot. Just trusting each other is how we got out of that mess.”

Middle blocker McKenzie Anderson scores the second most points for Eastfield with 12 kills for 13.5 points and a kill percentage of .423.

“It was nice to have a little more competition,” she said. “We made a statement tonight saying that none of the other teams scrap our balls up to make us play to the best of our abilities and make us rise to the occasion.” 

While she is excited about playing for a championship, Anderson stresses that her teammates must keep their dynamic to earn the title tomorrow.

“It’s gonna take a lot of communication,” Anderson said. “A lot of grit and a lot of energy for sure. All the teams that we’ve beaten and all the teams that are going against us cheered a lot against us tonight, but we still pulled through. So, as long as we have good energy and we trust in each other and communicate, I believe we will win tomorrow.”

The Harvester Bees will play the Century College Wood Ducks in the finals tomorrow at 6:30 p.m.

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