Volleyball falls to PacWest champs
Cal Baptist snaps Biola’s six-game win streak in dominating fashion.
After clinching the regular season PacWest championship earlier in November, California Baptist University’s volleyball team entered Chase Gymnasium on Nov. 11 looking to avenge the closest thing they had to a loss all season: a narrow five-set victory over the Eagles at CBU on Oct. 26. The undefeated Lancers showed no lack of motivation in the rematch, snapping Biola’s six-game win streak by winning in straight sets. It marked the first time the Eagles have been swept this season. After the game, head coach Aaron Seltzer could only shake his head and let out a wry chuckle.
“Cal Bap’s pretty good,” Seltzer said. “They’ll probably win the [NCAA Division II] national championship… when you can match that athleticism with that tempo, they’re really, really tough to defend.”
NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR LONG ENOUGH
The Lancers scored the first point of the match, but the Eagles responded with a quick run to take a 3-1 lead early in set one. However, Cal Baptist scored the next six points helped in part by two uncharacteristic attack errors from junior opposite hitter Karly Dantuma, and the Lancers never looked back from there. CBU outscored Biola 18-10 the rest of the way, controlling the pace for an easy set win.
Set two started out more evenly until a 5-1 run from Cal Baptist put them up 11-7. The Eagles battled back, eventually narrowing the deficit to 13-12 on a kill from redshirt freshman outside hitter Savannah Hilde, but they could not come any closer. Biola made it interesting late in the set as four straight kills from Dantuma brought the Eagles within two and forced CBU to call a timeout, but the Lancers came back with a kill and an ace to take set two 25-21.
Biola again started strong in set three, taking a 6-4 lead on multiple errors from the Lancers. Cal Baptist again stormed back, however, with five straight points to jump ahead 9-6. After some more back-and-forth play, CBU went on a 7-0 run to bump their lead to 10, sealing the sweep soon after..
“There’s some things we didn’t do well,” Seltzer said. “We just weren’t able to play well enough for long enough.”
INJURIES DEPLETE DEPTH
The Eagles had an even greater disadvantage due to health struggles. Regular rotation members including sophomore outside hitter Sabrina Winslow, junior middle blocker Sierra Bauder and freshman setter Vanessa Garcia were unavailable. Junior setter Brinley Beresford played most of the match out of necessity, but is also far from 100 percent healthy herself, according to Seltzer.
Junior outside hitter Hannah Van Warmerdam led those who did see the court with nine kills while Dantuma had seven, and Beresford notched 28 assists. Senior libero Tess Van Grouw and freshman libero Sami Hover recorded 12 and 10 digs, respectively.
The Eagles get nearly a full week of rest before their second-to-last match of the regular season, a home contest against Fresno Pacific University on Nov. 17.