The Lady Eagles share some of their experiences from Greenville!
Junior Savannah Petersen:
I remember laying on the gym floor at Emmaus after a long workout with Hannah Postma this summer. We were talking about the team for this season, which seemed to be our most frequent topic of conversation. We would dream about how incredible it would be to go to the National Tournament. Well, after a great, hard-fought season, you can only imagine how it felt to hear Coach say the words, "Pack your bags, we're going to South Carolina!"
Making it to this tournament, and being able to compete against some great teams has been an awesome opportunity. After losing our first two games against the #1 & #4 seeds, we were ready to win. Coming into our third game, we knew that beating Providence wouldn't get us any further in the tournament, but that game still meant a lot to us. We had a large crowd cheering us on, in the stands and watching over live stream, which was very encouraging. (Thank you so much to everyone who showed so much support to us this season!!!) We got off to a slow start, and the first set was definitely not pretty. We came together after, knowing that was not how we played "our game." After that we won the next 3 sets, together. Coming in as the #8 seed, we were not expected to win any matches, so this was a really big accomplishment. And it felt good. After our match we ate at Panda Express, and with full stomachs and full hearts, we started the journey home.
This season has meant so much to me. It has been so much more than wins and losses. Sure, it feels good to win. I love competing. But there is something more. Finding your identity in how you perform is easy, especially in sports. This year, I really feel like our team found our identity in Christ first. Every time we played, it was for something far greater than ourselves. And that, in my opinion, has been our best accomplishment of the year.
Assistant Coach Abi Hoyt:
Sitting on the edge of a Bob Jones University folding chair, trying to keep my expression calm and poised like a coach is supposed to, I can hardly believe this moment has come for us. Then the serve, a graceful pass and set by the opposing team, but the attack is out of bounds. The ladies pulled out the win against the worthy Providence Pilots. Now finally all the excitement can show as we close out this season with a game we can hold our heads high for. The ladies' unity and growth this season has thrilled me, and the wisdom from Coach Pitman has guided my own perspective of the world's best sport (volleyball, in case you were wondering). As we jokingly say whenever we've accomplished something around Coach Pitman, we "Neiled it!"
Because of my teaching job, I was unable to join the team until Thursday night. Not being there as the girls and Coach experienced the first two games was painful. The losses away from them hurt worse than losses I've experienced from the bench. But it felt like coming home to walk into the lobby where they were circled up, smiling and still strong despite the discouragement. Waking up this morning knowing I would get to throw balls for run-throughs, hit down-balls for warm-ups, and cheer them on win or lose was the best.
Some people would ask if it was worth it to fly down for one game (since losing the first two meant we wouldn't progress further in the tournament). Yes. A hundred times over, yes. This whole season, I've pinched myself asking, "Is this real, God? Do I really get to be a part of something bigger than me that is this amazing?" I guess His answer was yes. #proudassistantcoach