Head coach Wally Bomgren knew this year would be different compared to last season as a handful of players graduated last spring.

He knew this team was capable of winning big matches and helping the Eagles reach a third straight state tournament this year, but it would take a team effort for them to reach these goals.

The players had goals for this 2019 season and they were to play hard all season long, compete in the section tournament and reach state for a third time.

"This team has been really fun to work with because they improve each match and each practice," Bomgren said. "We have a lot of talent on this team and it's showing with the playoffs coming soon."

New Life had a small bump in the road on Tuesday as the Eagles lost 3-0 to Concordia Academy, who's undefeated in the conference this season.

Grace Schroeder tips the ball over the net to keep the volley alive for New Life Academy. The Eagles were swept 3-0 over Concordia Academy. File Photo
Grace Schroeder tips the ball over the net to keep the volley alive for New Life Academy. The Eagles were swept 3-0 over Concordia Academy. File Photo

The Beacons had a strong first set to win 25-14 and that led to a 25-9 second set win and a 25-18 third set to complete the 3-0 sweep. The loss on Tuesday put New Life out of contention to win the conference as the Eagles sit at 4-2 in the conference and 13-7 overall this season.

The New Life players understand it will take a true team effort to win these last three matches of the regular season because each player relies on the other's strength to complete the team win.

"We have a lot of talented players on this team and it shows at practice and in matches," said Elli Wiertsema. "Each player has a specific strength that completes the team, so we need to stay focused and continue improving our game each day."

Last season, each player had an overall area that they were strong in and that allowed the team to reach the state tournament. This season, each player has a specific skill that makes this team strong and the Eagles are working together to ultimately reach that state tournament again.

New Life has three more matches left in the regular season until the section tournament begins at the end of October. The Eagles will hit the road this upcoming week as they play at Bethlehem Academy on Tuesday, Oct. 8, at 7:15 p.m. before heading over to St. Agnes on Thursday, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m.

The Eagles will finish their season at home as they host Edina on Monday, Oct. 14, at 7 p.m.

"This team has the capability of going really far this season," said Hannah George. "We just need to stay focused on the team ahead and continuing to battle in each match."