Athlete of the Week: Douglas leads volleyball through impressive opening run
Every transfer athlete carries the “transfer” label through their first year, then sheds the skin to become a school veteran. Senior outside hitter Christine Douglas is miles past that point. The former Concordia University recruit is in her final year of collegiate eligibility with Biola and is already torturing opponents with her Golden State Athletic Conference-leading 156 kills.
But far beyond the individual statistic realm lies a far more important number, in this case 12, representing the number of consecutive wins the women’s volleyball team has tallied thus far. It’s this number that instills a growing confidence among Douglas and the rest of the team.
“The team has really come together and we really trust each other on the court,” Douglas said. “Our confidence in each other is climbing as well our confidence in ourselves individually.”
Recent streak has carried Eagles over top ranked opponents
The current 12-game win streak includes dominating 3-0 victories over top-ranked clubs like No. 7 Rocky Mountain College and No. 8 Lewis-Clark State College, as well as a 3-1 defeat over No. 3 ranked Lee University.
Ranked No. 5 in the NAIA preseason poll, Biola’s 13-1 start now has them in fourth, behind only Columbia College, Concordia, and University of Texas-Brownsville.
“This team has many incredibly talented players,” Douglas said when asked about handily defeating highly ranked opponents. “Everyone is learning to work together well so we are able to take advantage of each individual’s talent.”
The culmination of talent is allowing for high expectations to be succeeded, Douglas said, and is ultimately raising an already heightened confidence to new levels.
“We have always had high expectations for this team, but our start has definitely given us confidence for the rest of the season,” she said. “We all know that we can have a successful season and we look forward to seeing how it all turns out.”
On the court relationships have been key to team
As a senior and three-year player with the Eagles, Douglas’ roles have grown as well as her relationships with fellow seniors, creating a foursome of central leadership. Douglas, along with seniors Rachel Buckley, Nicolette Mather and Justine Schoneveld play vital roles in the guidance of a championship-aspiring club.
“The four of us are truly a united front,” Douglas said. “We take our role very seriously and we address everything as a unit.”
With perennial contender Fresno Pacific University’s departure to NCAA Division II, Concordia becomes the main threat to Biola, and the entire GSAC. Following an undefeated GSAC campaign in 2011, the Eagles of Concordia find themselves ranked No. 2 after a 12-game win streak of their own, setting up what should be a pair of remarkable matches with Biola starting Oct. 6.
“The Concordia games are very important,” Douglas said. “They are some of our toughest competition so it is important for us to come out strong.”
GSAC play concludes Nov. 10, a highly anticipated second matchup with Concordia, and serves as a fitting end to Douglas’ final collegiate regular season.
“This final year is bittersweet,” Douglas said. “I have been playing for 11 years and this year is the most special of any so far.
“I adore all of the girls on this team and I hope to take advantage of the time I have left with them,” she said.