Eagles finish seventh at national tournament

The Eagles (23-8) finished seventh at the 2018 NJCAA Division 1 Volleyball Championship in Hutchinson, Kan.
The Eagles (23-8) finished seventh at the 2018 NJCAA Division 1 Volleyball Championship in Hutchinson, Kan.

Polk State finished seventh out of 16 teams today at the NJCAA Division 1 Volleyball Championship in Hutchinson, Kan. 

The Eagles defeated Navarro College 3-0, winning each set by two points (29-27, 25-23, 25-23). 

Afterward, Head Coach German Del Valle took a few moments to reflect on the tournament and the season.  

"First I am grateful for the opportunity to be in the national tournament with the best teams in the nation," he said.  

"What a great season we had, with great accomplishments as a team and as individuals.

"We had the opportunity the be ranked second in the nation, the highest we've ever been ranked, and to win the Mid-Florida Conference. We also had several players earn Player of the Week honors at the state level as well as nationally. 

"Coming into this tournament, I feel the expectations were high. We came here with a mission: to make the finals and to compete for a national championship. Injuries, however, got in our way and there is no controlling them.

"Some of our freshmen had a fantastic tournament and helped us fight battles that we lost by close scores. 

"We are really proud of these young ladies who represent the colors of our school and put the Eagle in front of us. We give a lot of thanks to everyone who played a part in allowing these young ladies to be at Polk State. " 

Del Valle has already set his sights on 2019: "We will start preparing right away to work for the opportunity to be back at the national tournament next year." 

Against Navarro, Aixa Vigil led the Eagles in kills with 20 and reached double figures in digs with 10. 

Vanessa Tirollo contributed 20 assists, along with a pair of digs and an ace.

Mariane Cassiano tallied 11 kills, six digs, and two blocks. 

Diana Carranza made 21 digs while Gregna Fuentes added 14.  

Alexa Barral finished with eight kills, two blocks, and a dig. 

Nayeli Vilchez totaled seven assists, three kills, and a block. 

Nina Finderle added three kills, a dig, and a block. 

The Eagles finish the season with a 23-8 record. The won the Mid-Florida Conference championship, the NJCAA District I championship, and entered the national tournament ranked No. 2 in NJCAA D1 and No. 2 in FCSAA. They have qualified for the NJCAA Division 1 Volleyball Championship for five straight years.

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