Soccer and volleyball teams conclude seasons at NCCAA nationals
Both the men’s soccer team and women’s volleyball teams ended their seasons this weekend as part of the NCCAA National Tournament in Kissimmee, Florida. For the soccer team, the season ended on a high note with a 3-1 victory over Grace College on Saturday, Dec. 1. The win came after losses to Palm Beach Atlantic and McMurry University in the earlier rounds of the tournament, and it gave the Pilots a seventh-place finish. Grace scored the first goal of the game, but the Pilots came back quickly with a goal from Zach Drake. From there, the Pilots took control and closed out the game. Tim Wilson scored only 30 seconds into the second half and Lucas Dos Santos added another goal to help the Pilots end the season with a win. It has been a season of ups and downs for the Pilots, which their final record of 9-8-4 shows. The four ties are a testament to how close the Pilots came to having a stellar season. Still, the Pilots are happy with the way they progressed this season as well as finishing the season strong. "It was great to finish the season with a win," said Coach Thiago Pinto in an interview with bethelcollegepilots.com. "I am happy that we played well and again created a lot of scoring opportunities. Most importantly, it is great that our guys were able to reap the benefits of their hard work with the goals we scored to put the game away. And at last, I am very pleased with how our underclassmen have contributed to our team's performance during this high caliber national tournament. Additionally, I'm pleased with our seniors who have come alongside their younger teammates and helped them grow through this experience." The volleyball team was on fire at points throughout the season, but they flickered at the end – losing three of their four matches in tournament pool play. The final loss came at the hands of McMurry University in five sets. McMurry went on to win the national title.
"Overall we played an exciting, fast-paced, exceptional match against a dynamic McMurry team," said Ulmer in an interview with bethelcollegepilots.com. "They beat us, but we put up one of the best fights I saw in the tournament and maybe one of our best matches of the year. To play that well in this national tournament setting is really fun. I just wish we had played this consistently all weekend, because when we get going, there really isn't much we can't handle. I need to thank the friends and family as well as the men's soccer team for coming out and cheering for us. It really meant a lot to have such great support so far from away from Mishawaka. Also, to our seniors, you meant so much to us and we will never forget your efforts and sacrifices for our program. Thank you." The Lady Pilots finished the season with a record of 24-16 and at one point won 16 out of 17 games. While the ending was disappointing, volleyball coach Kevin Ulmer was also pleased with the season his team put together.