Story Credit: Kevin White - Daily Nonpareil
HUTCHINSON, Kan. – Second-rated Iowa Western lost a consolation marathon on Friday at the NJCAA Division I national volleyball tournament, falling to No. 8 Mineral Area 25-21, 20-25, 25-16, 29-31, 16-14 at the Hutchinson Sports Arena.
"We did not finish a single set, and that's hard,'' Iowa Western coach Alicia Williams said. "Effort was there the entire match. I think it was mental toughness and just belief.''
Iowa Western (38-3), the tournament's second seed, will play for seventh place at 12:30 p.m. Saturday against fifth-seeded, sixth-rated Hill College (27-3) of Hillsboro, Texas. Sixth-seeded Mineral Area, of Park Hills, Missouri, improved to 36-1.
"I thought Morgan Bossler had some fire in her and had some clutch plays,'' Williams said. "I thought (libero) Emi (Pua'a) played well.'' Pua'a had a team-high 25 digs and her sister, Hina, handed out 62 assists. Bossler had 11 kills.
The Iowa Western coach hopes her team can finish strong because it's been such an outstanding year.
"The memories of this season are going to be reflected with how you end,'' she said. "I do not want us to think of this season in a negative way. We've had such a great year.
"Yes, be mad about this one, but I'm hoping that we can find it within ourselves to try to end on a positive note.''
Iowa Western (38-3) 21 25 16 31 14
Mineral Area (36-1) 25 20 25 29 16
IW (kills-aces-blocks): Liz Fleckenstein 0-0-0, Savannah Downing 0-0-0, Irina Alekseeva 22-0-3, Kaci Hohenthaner 0-0-0, Ariana Macies 0-1-0, Ali Verzani 7-0-2, Caitlyn Cooper 23-0-5, Makayla Doyle 7-0-5, Morgan Bossler 11-0-2, Emi Pua'a 0-1-0, Hina Pua'a 3-1-0
Set assists: IW, H. Pua'a 62, E. Pua'a 3, Doyle 2, Macies 1. Digs: IW, E. Pua'a 25, Macies 18, H. Pua'a 13, Downing 10, Cooper 10, Alekseeva 8.