Volleyball claims NCCAA championship
Eagles claim first-ever NCCAA championship in four-set win. | Photo Courtesy of George Rodriguez
Volleyball returned to action for the third straight day, taking on The Southwestern Assemblies of God University Lions in the semifinals of the National Christian College Athletics Association championships on Dec. 2. A sweep of the Lions clinched a birth in the championship against The Campbellsville University Tigers, where the Eagles won their first ever NCCAA championship with a thrilling four-set win.
A DOMINANT PERFORMANCE
Biola came out motivated against SAGU, taking a 6-1 lead early in the first set on a kill from sophomore outside hitter Sabrina Winslow. They continued to push as they took a 19-10 lead with a kill from junior middle blocker Sierra Bauder. The Eagles won the set 25-15 on an ace from senior libero Tess Van Grouw.
The second set began with the Lions playing the Eagles much tighter as the score stood at 16-16. The experience of Biola took over late in the set as they finished with kills from Winslow and Bauder to win 26-24.
Going for a sweep, Biola battled back and forth to a 9-9 tie off a kill from junior opposite hitter Karly Dantuma. Dantuma continued to play well closing the set out on another kill to give the Eagles the straight-set win.
Winslow and Bauder each recorded 12 kills while Dantuma chipped in eight. Junior setter Brinley Beresford tallied an astounding 40 assists and also led the team in digs with 14.
The Eagles jumped on top of Campbellsville early in the first set of the NCCAA championship, as Beresford led them to a quick 9-2 lead. Later in the set, freshman libero Sami Hover pushed the lead to 18-8 on an ace. A Dantuma kill finished a dominant first set for Biola in a 25-15 win.
The Tigers came out firing in the second set, claiming an 11-8 lead off an Eagles hitting error. Biola kept the set tight throughout, but the Tigers finished the set on an ace to even the match at one set apiece.
Senior outside hitter Alli Beezer got the Eagles started early in the third set, slamming home a kill to give her team a 9-4 lead. A Winslow kill later in the set pushed the lead to 17-9, and Beezer finished the set on a kill to give Biola a 25-17 win.
Looking to win the match, Biola came out motivated in the fourth set, jumping to a 5-1 lead off a Bauder kill. A long run led by Winslow and Bauder later in the set pushed the Eagles ahead 19-12. The Tigers refused to go down without a fight though, cutting the Biola lead to 22-20 late in the set. A Winslow kill gave the Eagles set point, and Beezer finished her Biola career with a championship-winning kill as they took the set 25-21 for their first ever NCCAA championship.
Winslow tallied 14 kills followed by Dantuma with 12 and Bauder with 11. Beresford put up 49 assists, while Van Grouw tallied 19 digs in her last game at libero for the Eagles.
Biola finished the season with a 28-7 overall record and a 15-5 PacWest record to come second in the conference. The Eagles closed the season on an eight game win-streak, including six straight at the NCCAA tournament to earn them the national championship.