Eastfield loses second match

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The Harvesters lost a hard-fought match Friday to Ridgewater in the second round of the National Junior College Athletic Association championship tournament.

The Harvesters lost the first two games but fought back to win the next two, forcing a decisive fifth game.

Scores were 18-25, 14-25, 25-19, 25-22, 10-15.

The Harvesters will play Central Lakes for third place at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Follow along on  Twitter or watch live at njcaatv.com.

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The Harvesters fan section was excited to watch the team play.

The Harvesters fan section was excited to watch the team play today.

Harvesters win first match

The Harvesters defeated North Hampton 3-0 (25-13, 25-15, 24-14) in their first match at the National Junior College Athletic Association championship tournament.

The Harvesters broke North Hampton’s 23-game win streak. Their last previous loss was Sept. 3.

Half way through the second set, libero Karina Lay left the game with a knee injury. Her return for the next game against Minnesota’s Ridgewater College is unknown.

Eastfield will play Ridgewater at later today in a semi-final match. A win would advance them to tomorrow’s championship match.

Follow along Twitter or watch live at njcaatv.com.
 

 

A hypnotizing night in Rochester

Thursday started early with a team breakfast at the hotel.

After breakfast, the Harvesters prepared for a early morning practice on the game court. The day before they practiced on a practice court.

At practice the team did competitive drills and worked on ball control. After practice the team ate lunch at Panera before going back to the hotel for down time. Most players slept. The coaches went to a meeting while the team got ready for the banquet.

At the banquet, coach Brandon Crisp received the District C Coach of the Year award.

There was a hypnotist at the banquet who hypnotized a group of players from all the teams. The Harvesters outside hitter Nyjah Meadows was one of the ones hypnotized. The hypnotist had the entire banquet laughing at the crazy things the players were doing.

At one point, he had the athletes act like they had just met their idol. Meadows walked up to teammate Courtanae Calhoun and started crying with excitement to finally meet Calhoun.

After waking the athletes up, the hypnotist asked the participants if there were ready to start and all of them said yes not knowing that for 45 minutes straight he had them dancing with coaches, dancing with random people and acting like Steve Irwin.

— Brianna Harmon

 

 

The Harvesters post for a group photo with the Dean of STEM Gretchen Riehl.

The Harvesters pose for a group photo.

Kirsten Fredrickson and Alyssa Jimenez are in shock while being hypnotized.

Kersten Fredrickson and Alyssa Jimenez are in shock while being hypnotized.

Coach Brandon Crisp poses with the Eastfield banner and his District C Coach of the Year award after the banquet.

Coach Brandon Crisp poses with the Eastfield banner and his District C Coach of the Year award after the banquet.

Eastfield invades Rochester

It was an early morning Tuesday for the Harvesters volleyball team.

The team met at 4 a.m. at the college to take a bus to the airport for a 6:45 a.m. flight to Minneapolis-St-Paul airport. Once arrived there the team had a two hour layover.

The layover turned into a delayed flight to Rochester due to the emergency lights being dead on the aircraft. The plane ended up having to be switched out, and then the team took a quick 15-minute flight to Rochester.

The team arrived at the hotel early afternoon and had a few hours of down time before going to practice, where they worked on serving and ball control.

The tournament banquet is tonight. The Harvesters’ first game is 12:30 p.m. Central time Friday. The match will stream live at njcaatv.com. Follow along Twitter @BHarmonETC.

Shots from tonight’s practice:

 

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Volleyball heads to national tournament

 

Editor’s note: Managing Editor Brianna Harmon is with the volleyball team at the national championship tournament in Rochester, Minnesota. Follow the team’s progress here and on Harmon’s Twitter. The Harvesters’ first game is 12:30 p.m. Central time Friday. The match will stream live at njcaatv.com.

By BRIANNA HARMON
@BHarmonETC

After falling in the first game of the Metro Athletic Conference Tournament to Brookhaven, Eastfield rallied to win the next two games and go up 2-1 over the Bears.

In the final game, the Harvesters led the entire way, extending their lead to 16-12 over Brookhaven as the team’s energy exploded.

At game point, Eastfield held a 24-16 lead and fans rose to their feet held up the No. 1 sign with their fingers.

As the ball hit the ground, outside hitter Cailey Clogston, setter Alyssa Jimenez, and libero Karina Lay leaped in the air and screamed with excitement.

“I am proud of the girls for what they have done and accomplished this year,” coach Brandon Crisp said. “We lost the first set, but they didn’t crumble and give up. They fought back.”

The Harvesters’ defeat of conference rival Brookhaven 3-1 came in close games (25-27, 25-15, 25-21, 25-16). Now they advance to the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III National Championship Nov. 11-12 in Rochester, Minnesota.

Eastfield was undefeated in conference play and won the MAC title for the first time since 1994. Brookhaven had won the conference for the previous 12 seasons.

Eastfield’s last trip to nationals was in 2013, where they finished sixth.

Throughout the match Crisp talked to the team about playing good defense. Crisp told the girls throughout the game to keep fighting and keep every ball up. Then he began to tell the team to not get ahead of themselves and to focus on the task at hand.

Brookhaven would start out each game with a small lead, but in from the second game on, the Harvesters would pull away in the middle and Brookhaven would be too far behind to catch up.

Lay led the Harvesters defense with 27 digs. Jimenez added 20 digs and Clogston had 16 digs. Jimenez also had 23 assists and Zelda Ortiz had 17.

Courtanae Calhoun led the team with 20 kills, and Kerstin Fredrickson added 13.
Eastfield took complete control of the game; the gym rang with cheering from fans the entire time. After each point scored The Harvesters bench would go wild.

“I’m shaking,” Calhoun said. “I have never shook in my life. It’s a happy feeling. If we can play just like we played now, we are going to be unstoppable.”

Ortiz over the season has developed her own in game ritual. No matter where she is located on the court or bench, when Eastfield scores, you will hear her screams and see her dancing.

“It took every ounce of energy I had in my body to keep my team
motivated,” Ortiz said. “Being loud and obnoxious gets to [the opposing team].”

Clogston was impressed with how the team came together after losing the first game.

“We got down a little, but we knew it was do or die,” Clogston said. “We were leaning on each other for encouragement to lift us up. We beat our rival. There is no better feeling.”

Lay was named Metro Athletic Conference Player of the Week and NJCAA Player of the Week for her performance against Brookhaven.

“It’s amazing,” Lay said. “We have put so much hard work into this. Every practice was worth this. Brookhaven hasn’t lost in forever, so to beat them is a big accomplishment.”

Eastfield leads the nation in digs per set with 22.30. The team is ranked third in the nation for kills per set with 11.59 and assists per set with 10.51

The team talks about playing as a family.

“I showed up today I was extremely nervous,” Ortiz said. “I thought about it and said, ‘It’s for the person next to me, It’s not about me anymore. It’s gut check time. I’m proud of my team.’ We did what we had to do to win.”

Crisp doesn’t plan to change his approach to get the team ready for the national tournament.

“It business as usual,” Crisp said. “It doesn’t change. I told the girls today this is nothing new, it’s just another day for us. We won’t do anything special. We will get back in the gym and practice and work even harder.”

Eastfield will play North Hampton Community College at 12:30 p.m. Nov. 11. North Hampton is located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The Spartans are coming into the tournament with a 30-1 record, their only loss being on Sept. 3 to Butler County.

 

Harvesters finish fourth in national tournament

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By Brianna Harmon

LOCH SHELDRAKE, N.Y. — The Harvesters finished fourth in the national tournament after beating Mohawk Valley Community College of Utica, New York, in overtime 96-90.

Ed Williams led the team’s victory by scoring 29 points. Williams also racked up 14 rebounds in the tournament and 17 assists. Throughout the tournament Williams scored a total of 81 points and was named to the all-tournament team. He also broke the school record for most threes made in a game and finished first in the nation for 3-pointers made.

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Ed Williams, named to the all-tournament team, leaps for the basket.

“I feel good,” Williams said. “I ended the tournament good. I ended the season good. … I accomplished my goals coming into the year by making it to New York and getting on the all-tournament team. I wanted to be No. 1 in the nation and I accomplished that. I can put that on my resume. I can tell people I’m a big time shooter.”

Danzel Whitemon followed Williams lead by scoring 23 points against the Hawks, adding 14 rebounds and five assists.

“I was just playing basketball,” Whitemon said. “Always being the underdog growing up and being overlooked motivates me. I think I ended my (junior college) career great. I was relentless. I wanted to leave some kind of legacy at Eastfield.”

Mohawk Valley’s Janeel Frith was ejected from the game after hitting Whitemon in the face with the ball.

The Harvesters win over Mohawk Valley was decided by free throws late in the game. Mohawk Valley’s Ahmet Bademkiran fouled out along with the ejection.

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Danzel Whitemon scored 23 points in the Harvesters’ fourth-place game.

Other leaders for the Harvesters were LeTron Manning with 13 points and Donald McBride, Zack Duncan and Tre Anderson finished with 8 points a piece.

The Harvesters finished the season with a 26-8 overall record and an 8-2 conference record.

Fletcher is proud of the team and how they ended their season.

“This tournament can be a life changer for different people in different situations,” he said. “It’s about the experience they receive from here. It’s all stuff for the basketball resume and experience resume.”

 

Preview of Eastfield vs. Mohawk Valley

Harvester fans in New York. PHOTO BY BRIANNA HARMON

Harvester fans in New York. PHOTO BY BRIANNA HARMON

The Harvesters vie for fourth place in the NJCAA Division III national basketball tournament in a game today against Mohawk Valley Community College from Utica, New York.

The game is underway now. Live coverage of the tournament is streaming here and follow us on Twitter for updates.

Players to watch for Eastfield are:

Tre Anderson, who has 32 points so far in the tournament and nine rebounds.

Ed Williams, who has 52 total points, 12 assists and eight rebounds.

And Danzel Whitemon, who has 22 total points and six rebounds.

Players to watch for Mohawk Valley are:

Kyron Allen, who has scored a total of 31 points this tournament and 13 rebounds.

Janeel Frith, who has scored a total of 27 points and 19 rebounds.

And Devonte Wilson, who scored a total of 23 points and three rebounds.

— Brianna Harmon