Faki, Giourda, and Mpakodimou are representing Greece in the NCAA Tournament. UCF and Towson did not manage to advance to the second round, and now Faki holds the blue and white flag with Pitt reaching the top 8 teams in the nation! An incredible year for Papazoglou’s Odessa College, with the end result being ranked in 6th place in NJCAA Division 1!
The Reivers (= River Pirates) from Iowa Western made history as they put forth an impressive team effort to capture the 2021 NJCAA D1 National Volleyball Championship.
Saturday evening, April 17th, featured an unforgettable performance against Snow College of Utah, with the Reivers prevailing 3-1 (storming out of the gate for a 25-15 first set, dropping their first set in the entire national tournament to Snow 20-25 in the second set, capturing the pivotal third set 25-20 after a relentless back and forth battle, and delivering a compelling fourth set, 25-19). The pirate ship from Council Bluffs, IA, steered by Coach of the Year Alicia Williams, delivered a definition of teamwork, with four players in double digits, led by Irem Elmas with 18 points, 15 kills, and 12 digs. Joining Irem in the All-Tournament Team was Maike Bertens, with 15 kills, and MVP Yadhira Anchante, who had 51 assists, 11 digs, 6 kills, and 3 blocks. In recent memory, the 5th-ranked Reivers were the lowest seed to capture the national title, upsetting three higher ranked opponents in the process, including top-ranked, heavy favorites, undefeated and winners of 10 previous national titles, Miami Dade in the semi-final on Friday.
Zoe Faki’s final year of college volleyball in America seems to be ending on a great note. For the first time in program history, the University of Pittsburgh reached the final 16 teams in the national championship! Pitt (No. 18 national ranking) first reached the 48 best teams in NCAA D1 for the fifth consecutive season and traveled to Omaha, Nebraska, for the NCAA championship on April 14th. It is the 16th time that the Panthers compete in the NCAA Tournament, and Pitt is one of the four teams that represent the ACC conference along with Georgia Tech, Louisville, and Notre Dame.
In their first match on the 14th of April, the Panthers quickly defeated Long Island University with 3-0 and advanced to the second round of the tournament where they faced Utah (Top-10 in AVCA voting) on Thursday the 15th of April. The Panthers managed to sweep Utah 3-0 and qualified to the “Sweet Sixteen” for the first time ever in their program history. If they manage to overcome the obstacle of third-ranked Minnesota on Sunday at noon, then Faki will be the first Greek athlete to reach the Elite Eight teams of NCAA D1 volleyball.
America East Champion UMBC travelled to Omaha, Nebraska to face No.20 Pepperdine in the first round of the NCAA Volleyball Championship.
The UMBC Volleyball team finished the best season in the program’s history in the first round of the NCAA tournament falling to No.20 Pepperdine with set scores of 25-7, 25-22, and a very hard-fought third set by a score of 26-24.
What inspired you to come to America to play volleyball? Why in the US?
First of all, playing volleyball in the USA has been in my dreams since the 9th grade. America provides opportunities for most athletes in the D1 league both academically and in terms of volleyball.