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Zoe Faki - The first Greek athlete to reach NCAA D1 Volleyball's Elite 8 - A hair away from the Final Four!


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!  

Zoe Faki
Faki’s Pitt made history! The surprises were not over after the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament following the 3-0 victory over No. 10 Utah on April 15th, but rather continued on Sunday with an incredible victory 3-2 (21-25, 25-23, 20-25, 25-21, 15-11) against No. 3 Minnesota. With this victory, Pitt will made an appearance in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament for the first time while Faki is the first Greek athlete to have accomplished such a great achievement: top 8 teams of the NCAA! Faki, who contributes to her team from the serve line, in the match against Utah had 1 ace and 2 digs, while in the upset against Minnesota she had 1 assist, 3 aces, and 2 digs. Pittsburgh along with the Universities of Florida, Wisconsin, Texas, Nebraska, Kentucky, Washington, and Purdue are the “Big 8” universities and 4 of them will advance to the semifinal.
Pitt’s magical run ended on Monday afternoon, but the Panthers proudly handled themselves once more and almost pulled off a huge upset, the third in a row, finally yielding to the 6th ranked Washington Huskies 2-3. After leading 2-0, the Pitt Panthers almost got to the Final Four in the third set (24-26), but critical Washington challenges overturned Pitt points, to finally see Washington force a fourth set, and then a fifth, in which the Huskies prevailed 15-9. It was a tremendously even match, both teams scoring 80 points, Pitt leading with 63-59 kills, 58-54 assists, and 61-57 digs, while UW had a couple more aces and blocks. Zoi Faki had yet another ace in this match, and ended her Pitt undergraduate career with some key stats in this tournament. 

Stella Giourda
Giourda’s University of Central Florida athletic duties are now over. On April 14th, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the UCF Knights were defeated by the mighty High Point in a match that lasted over two hours. The season ended with the AAC Champions having a final record of 16-2, with a perfect 8-0 in their conference games, and appearing in the NCAA tournament for the 11th time in the history of their program. Giourda participated in 1 set without making any points.

Fay Mpakodimou
A rollercoaster of a season came to an end for Mpakodimou’s Towson. On April 13th, Towson faced Dayton at the CHI Health Center Omaha Convention Center where they lost 3-0 (15-25,16-25,16-25). Mpakodimou was in the starting line-up in this match and scored 5.5 points, 5 kills, 7 digs, and 1 block. Towson will continue to build on the successes of the previous two seasons as the team does not consist of any seniors.

Stavroula Papazoglou
Papazoglou’s Odessa College were the second-ranked team on their way to the Nationals of NJCAA DI. In the first round they faced Yavapai College, which they quickly defeated 3-1. Papazoglou participated in 1 set and scored 1 kill in this match. On the same day, they faced Tyler Junior College, and after 5 thriller sets, the Odessa Wranglers were defeated (25-18,25-16,19-25,20-25,15-12), without the participation of Papazoglou. On the next day, they faced Florida Southwestern State College for the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th place in the qualifiers. With an easy 3-0 sweep (25-22,25-22,25-21) they continued to fight for the 5th or 6th spot. Papazoglou did not play in this match. In their final match, the Wranglers could not defeat Blinn College and lost 3-1, ranking 6th. The freshman participated in one set and had 1 kill. The season ended with the champions of Region 5 having a final record of 26-4 and an incredible 10-0 record in the games in their regular season.

Christos Gitersos
Last week was a busy one for Giterso’s Limestone University. On April 13th they faced Tusculum knowing that the winner of that match would advance to the semifinals of the IVA Championship. The Limestone Saints came prepared and with an incredible 3-1, they earned a spot to the semifinals. Once again, Gitersos contributed significantly to his team’s victory after scoring 3 kills, 40 assists, and 2 digs in 4 sets. On the 16th of April, in the 1st semi final, LU played against Queen’s but unfortunately fell 3-0 (28-26,25-18,25-22). The Greek setter participated throughout the match and had 1 kill, 26 assists, 2 blocks, and 4 digs. Finally, on the 17th of April, they fought for 3rd place against Tusculum for the 2nd time in four days. This time, they did not manage to overpower them, and lost 3-0 (25-23,25-22,25-20). The sophomore participated in all three sets, scoring 2 kills, 27 assists, 1 ace, 2 blocks, and 4 digs.

Dimitris Kiridis
Kyridi’s season with Barton College came to an end with a record of 9 wins and 10 losses. On April 13th, they faced King in the quarterfinals of the conference but fell 0-3. The Greek middle-blocker was a starter in that game and scored 4 kills, 2 blocks, and 2 digs.

Naufsika Papavasiliou
Papavasiliou’s Mount Olive did not manage to secure a spot in the finals. They faced undefeated and top-ranked North Greenville University on April 17th but fell 0-3 after a very difficult game. Papavasiliou participated in all 3 sets scoring 3 kills. This game marks the end of this season for Mount Olive with a record of 7 wins and 4 losses.

Elena Mpaka
The duo Mpaka-Cowell remains consistent with 3 wins against UC Davis and Pepperdine. On April 11th, the St Mary’s Gaels managed to get revenge against UC Davis (3-2) despite losing to them earlier this season. In their first match, Mpaka and Cowell prevailed UC Davis with 2-0 (21-18, 21-17) securing their sixth victory in eight games. The following day, Mpaka and Cowell repeated their amazing performance and defeated Heather Reed and Megan Luly 2-0 (21-16, 21-12). On April 17th, St Mary’s Gaels beat Pepperdine (No.11 in the nation!) with 3-2 and secured their eighth victory this year. Mpaka and Cowell had an outstanding performance and crushed their opponents in 3 sets.  

Next Obligations:
April 18th vs.  CAL
April 18th vs. TBA
April 24th vs. Santa Clara
April 24th vs. CAL POLY
April 30th- May 1st WCC Tournament

Spyros Chakas
The University of Hawaii continues its undefeated streak with two more wins over UC Irvine on April 16th and 17th. On April 16th, Chaka’s University of Hawaii prevailed over UC Irvine 3-2 (25-22, 25-23, 23-25, 24-26, 15-13). Chakas participated in 4 sets without scoring any points. On the next day, the University of Hawaii swept UC Irvine with a “clean” score of 3-0 (25-17, 25-18, 25-13). Chakas did not participate in this game. For the first time in history, the University of Hawaii ends their season undefeated.

Next Obligations:
April 22nd-24th Big West Tournament


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