Cougars Drop Championship Match, Ferreira Named MVP
SIOUX CITY, IA -- The Columbia College volleyball team fell to top-seeded Concordia University by a score of 3-1 on Saturday night in the championship match of the NAIA National Volleyball Championships. The Eagles defeated the Cougars 25-19, 20-25, 25-21, and 25-19 to cap off an undefeated season at 38-0 and claim the program's first ever national title. Columbia, the tournament's No. 3 overall seed, finishes as the national runner-up for the fifth time in program history and completes the season with a record of 42-2. Columbia's only losses this season came against the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams in the nation.
The Eagles took a 1-0 lead in the match after a 25-19 win in the first set. Concordia used an early 6-1 run to take an 11-5 lead and the Cougars never got within three points for the remainder of the game.
Columbia evened the match with a 25-20 victory in set two. After falling behind 9-4 to begin the set, the Eagles battled back to take an 18-17 lead. The Cougars would respond by taking 8 of the next ten points to take the game and tie match at a game apiece.
After a back-and-forth start to the third set that saw the match tied at 15 after 30 rallies, Concordia took five of the next six points for a 20-16 lead. A late rally from Columbia came up short as the Eagles grabbed a 2-1 advantage in the match with the 25-21 win.
With the Cougars facing elimination in the fourth set, Concordia proved to be too tough down the stretch. Leading by just one point at 15-14, the Eagles went on a late 5-1 run for a commanding 20-15 lead and eventually put the game and match away with a 25-19 victory.
Junior Brooke Simpson led Columbia at the net with 15 kills, to go along with 13 kills from Kahoriz Feliz on the night. Paula Ferreira led all players with 41 assists, while also adding nine digs. Elena Berroteran had a match-high 20 digs and seniors Aleah Hayes and Kelly Corkum added eight digs and four kills, respectively..
Concordia was led by Jessica Israel with a match-high 17 kills and Kara Vincitorio with 19 digs.
Following Saturday night's championship match, the NAIA presented players with National All-Tournament awards. Kahoriz Feliz and Elena Berroteran were named to the 12-person team for their efforts over the past five days. Feliz logged 91 kills while Berroteran posted 137 digs. In her final game of an award-winning career, Paula Ferreira was named the tournament's most valuable player, dishing out 295 assists and added 89 digs during the event.
Columbia ends another amazing season, wrapping up 2012 as the NAIA National Runner-Up and finishing their season in the title match for the eighth time in program history.