No. 13 Park (Mo.) Grounds Eagles in NAIA Opening Round
With AsburyEagles.com writer Ashley Walls
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - No. 13 Park University (34-5) bested the Eagles 3-0 in the 2013 NAIA National Championship Opening Round at Breckon Sports Center on Nov. 23.
Despite a 4-0 run late by the Eagles, Asbury couldn’t catch up to the Park Pirates in time to turn the lead around in the first set. After trailing the Pirates by 11 at one point, the Eagles cut the margin to 7, but ultimately lost to the Pirates 25-17.
An attacking error by the Pirates in the second set gave Asbury the 1-0 lead, but Park didn’t let them have the lead for long. Kills by Park University’s Raissa Herczfeld and a service ace by Wanessa Siqueira gave the Pirates a four-point lead, and the Pirates took off from there.
Though things weren’t going they way the Eagles planned, Asbury didn’t give up. A kill by Asbury junior Alyssa Downs brought the score from 14-9 to 14-10. After an attacking error on the Pirates’ side, Asbury was only down by three points at 14-11. But Siqueira and Herzfeld stopped Asbury’s momentum from going any further, combining for three kills in a row. Park pulled away for good after that, winning the second set 25-15.
Asbury led 3-1 in the third set, but the Pirates ended their lead quickly just like in the second. The Eagles trailed the Pirates throughout the third set, losing to the Pirates 25-18 and won the match 3-0 after an hour and ten minutes.
Park University’s AMC Player of the Year Wanessa Sigueira’s made a big impact for the Pirates. While Park made 49 kills in all three sets, Siquiera made 17 of them and put up 8 digs to add to the team’s 41.
Park’s .396 attacking percentage made it a hard match to defend, but senior Kelly Cole still stopped numerous potential points with her game-high 13 digs. Senior Allison Rehner delivered on the offensive side of things with the team-high 8 kills, and junior—and recently named KIAC player of the Year—Sarah Sterling was right behind Rehner with 7 of her own. Junior Maddie Lewis had a game-high 3 service aces, while senior Mackenzie Burke and junior Jessie Bartlow led the team in assists with a combined 20.
Despite the loss, the Eagles have a lot to be proud of. Not only were they nearly undefeated in conference play with a 10-1 record, but they also finished the season 34-8 and held on to a 19-game-winning streak for seven weeks.
Eagles' seniors Catherine Wolter, Mackenzie Burke, Kelly Cole and Cari McMullen played their final games as an Asbury team member. Burke finishes her career atop the service aces in program history, Cole at No. 1 in digs, and Wolter finishes at 15th in kills -- a decorated senior class nonetheless.
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