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Eastfield ends perfect season with championship title

CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA– The Eastfield Harvester Bees won the 2023 NJCAA DIII Volleyball National Championship after defeating the third-seeded Century College Wood Ducks 3-0 in the finals. They became the first team in Dallas College Athletics history to win a championship in an undefeated season, finishing with an overall record of 35-0.

Eastfield won the first two sets 25-19 and 25-11. In the third set, Century surged in scoring to take the lead, but Eastfield rallied to regain the lead late in the set and win it 25-22.

“It’s hard to describe what I’m feeling right now,” head coach Phil Nickel said. “Pride, joy, excitement. It’s just amazing.”

Nickel, who became the head coach of the Harvesters during the previous season, was part of the rebuilding of the team and the rebound it made after missing the national tournament last year.

“I came in late, so I didn’t get to do preseason with the team,” he said. “We were just kind of winging it as we went and it was a struggle at times, but those kids really bought in and they worked hard. So, this year, we able to recruit some more players and have a full offseason and preseason. The energy, the attitude and the expectations were totally different this year.”

Outside hitter Azoria Davis was named most valuable player of the tournament, and she also led the team in scoring with 15 kills and a kill percentage of .389.

“I feel I have worked so hard and I’m just so proud of myself for pushing through,” she said. “There were some tough times, but I’m glad I pushed through it. I trusted my gut and I trusted my teammates and coaches to help me get to this point.”

Davis is also proud to be part of the first undefeated Harvesters team in Dallas College history in addition to winning a championship.

“It feels unbelievable,” Davis said. “I have no words for this team to get to this position, especially since last year they didn’t have a too great season.”

Middle blocker Tasmine Maxwell, who scored the second most points with seven kills and a kill percentage of .467, is happy to earn a championship as a new member of the team.

“This is the first team I’ve ever been on,” she said. “We just went out, worked hard and started from the bottom to be a better team after last year.”

Maxwell feels a sense of gratitude for being a part of the Harvesters’ success this season and experiencing the moment with her teammates and family.

“I’m very thankful,” Maxwell said. “I’m very thankful for the coach, I’m very thankful for the girls and I’m very thankful for my parents. Everybody pushed me to be what I am today.”

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