In the NAC, Maranatha experienced a brief stay as the #2 ranked team and ended the season fifth overall in the standings.
Season highlights were a five game loss to the Dominican Stars after falling behind 2-0 in the set. Junior hitter Torey DeLozier (Watertown, Wis.) and the Crusaders clawed their way back to a fifth set, where they succumbed to the Star’s firepower.
Maranatha also defeated #4 Wisconsin Lutheran twice, once during the regular season and in a dramatic 3-2 set victory to advance them to a NAC semifinals rematch against Dominican. Their strong postseason run ended at the hands of the Stars in a 3-0 loss.
In the NCCAA, Maranatha showed no mercy by bulldozing their way to a 15-1 record. Highlights included a Regional Championship Banner after defeating Lincoln Christian 3-1.
Maranatha’s Regional Championship earned them a #2 overall seed in the NCCAA National Tournament in Kissimmee, Fla.
The Crusaders faced a tough Lincoln team in a rematch that kept viewers on the edge of their seats. Down 2-1 in the match and 24-19 in set four, Maranatha rallied to defeat Lincoln 27-25 in a miracle comeback.
The fifth set proved to be difficult, but sophomore blocker Laci Peterson (Chillicothe, Ill.) and the Crusaders earned a hard-fought 15-12 fifth set win.
After defeating Ozark Christian in the regular season, Maranatha fell 3-0 in a semifinals rematch. Last year, Ozark defeated Maranatha 3-2 in the semifinals.
DeLozier earned her second straight Player of the Year Award in the NAC after recording 707 kills and moving into second place all-time for kills in the NAC (1,929).
She needs just 17 kills to break the 1,945 barrier set by Kayla Leyden of Benedictine in four seasons. DeLozier has reached this milestone in three seasons, and hopes to keep pace for her senior year.
Laci Peterson was an invaluable piece to the puzzle after transferring to Maranatha. She awarded the team by ranking third in the NAC in kills per set (3.35) and hitting percentage (.304).
She was also a valuable defensive presence, often teaming with sophomore blocker Lauren Schulz (Lake Mills, Wis.) for a presence in the middle.
DeLozier was named First Team All-NAC while Peterson was named to the Second Team All-NAC. Schulz was All-Sportsmanship player for Maranatha.
Freshman hitter Pam Borchardt chipped in as the team’s second setter and provided kill support for Peterson and DeLozier. She was named the NCCAA Freshman of the Year.
The Crusaders return almost their full team, but will sorely miss the presence of defensive specialist Danielle Stegall (Joliet, Ill.) and setter Stephanee Fouts (New Lenox, Ill.).
All in all, the 2011 season can be labeled a success with a NAC Tournament appearance and personal records to keep locked in the vault.