No. 9 Polk State played some of its best volleyball of the season tonight but came up short in a bid to upset No. 1 Miami Dade College, the undefeated defending national champion, in the quarterfinals of the NJCAA Division 1 Women's Volleyball Championship in Hutchison, Kan.
After dropping the first set 18-25, the Eagles dominated the Sharks in the second set 25-17.
Trailing 9-12 in the third set, Polk State rallied to tie the score at 20 and at 24 before falling 24-26.
In the final set, the Eagles took a 20-13 lead, but the Sharks fought back to win 28-26.
"We played our best volleyball in this match," said Head Coach German Del Valle. "Our players did everything that we asked of them.
"Miami Dade proved why they're number one in the nation today. They were in trouble and they knew how to get out of trouble.
"We have to respect them. They're good, solid, big, and aggressive, but I think our kids did a phenomenal job.
"I think we have the best kids in the nation."
Polk State (18-9, 7-2, No. 4 FCSAA) plays No. 5 seed Hill College tomorrow at 3:30 PM EST. The winner advances to the Fifth Place Match on Saturday.
Anilise Fitzi made 18 kills, four blocks, and a dig.
Manuela Vargas recorded 32 assists along with six digs, four blocks, and a pair of aces.
Kathya Garcia had 12 kills, nine digs, and two aces.
Nicky Pio finished with six digs, five assists, a block, and a pair of aces.
Diana Carranza contributed 10 digs and an assist.
Alexa Barral added four kills, four blocks, three digs, and two assists.
Chiara Bosetti made seven digs, five kills, and four aces.
Veronika Nemcova tallied two blocks, two digs, and a kill.
Weiying Wu had three kills.