Eagles volleyball falls to No. 10 in weekend tournament

Eagles volleyball drops in rank from No. 5 to No. 10 during the Holiday Inn Summer Slam weekend tournament.



Juniors Rachel Buckley and Nicolette Mather go for a block at the August 25, 2011 women’s volleyball game. | Katie Juranek/THE CHIMES

Cassandra Gonzales, Writer

Juniors Rachel Buckley and Nicolette Mather go for a block at the August 25, 2011 women’s volleyball game. |Katie Juranek/THE CHIMES


Eagles sweep wins from William Jessup and Bellevue

Biola women’s volleyball claimed their turf with a pair of victories over William Jessup University and No.16 Bellevue University during the first day of the Holiday Inn Summer Slam at Biola on Friday, Aug. 19.

Biola had a rough start in the first match against William Jessup — who recorded 10 blocks — but the Eagles still held the Warriors to a -.211 attack percentage. The Eagles committed five attack errors in the match and hit at a .433 clip.

The juniors on the Eagle side excelled as Christine Douglas led the team with 10 kills. Nicolette Mather had eight kills, while Rachel Buckley recorded seven blocks. Freshman Rachel Krueger made an impression with six blocks of her own.

“I want to make this the best season possible for our three seniors,” said outside hitter Douglas. “I aim to do whatever I can to make this [season] great for the girls who do not get another chance.”

The Eagles finished with a 3-0 match win over William Jessup including set wins of 25-10, 25-10 and 25-5. They then continued their streak with a 3-0 victory over Bellevue. The Eagles won the sets 25-22, 25-19 and 25-19.

The Eagles opened up a 15-5 lead early in the first set. However, the Bellevue Bruins answered with 14 of the following 20 points, pulling themselves within two points at 21-19. Senior Sarah Schweiger sealed the win with a kill, ending the game at 25-22.

The Eagles closed out the final match with a strong third set by keeping the Bruins at a distance and not allowing them to get within three points of their lead. Douglas, Mather and Buckley made significant statements with their recorded kills and blocks in the two matches of opening day.

“This tournament allowed us to play against some extremely talented teams, whom we will probably see at nationals, so it was beneficial for us to experience that level of competition,” Douglas said, who recorded 23 kills in the two matches.

Day two yields losses to top ranked teams

Biola suffered two tough defeats on the second and final day of the tournament, losing twice to two of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ Top 10 teams: No.10 College of Idaho and No. 7 Lewis-Clark State College on Saturday, Aug. 20.

Biola lost 3-2 in a series of competitive matches to the College of Idaho Coyotes with close sets of 25-23, 27-25, 15-25, 21-25, 21-19. Biola started off poorly but quickly fired back to provide a spirited first match. Despite Biola’s efforts, the College of Idaho broke a 22-22 tie and won the first set. In the second set, the Eagles took control and led most of the game. However, the Coyotes rebounded to win 27-25.

Biola was able to win the third set, largely due to Buckley’s three kills and signature block. The battle continued all the way through the fifth set as the Eagles would start off strong but fade away as the set continued.

In the second and final match the Eagles fell 3-0 to the Lewis-Clark State Warriors. The match opened with an impressive set featuring 15 ties and five lead changes. The two teams played incredible defense by not allowing each other to get more than two points ahead throughout the set. However, Lewis-Clark State won the set after an attack error by Biola.

The win sparked Lewis-Clark to take the match from Biola, thus closing out the tournament. Despite the loss, the Eagles played an aggressive game of volleyball. Schweiger had a total of 34 kills, 12 digs and two blocks in the match against College of Idaho. Douglas had 26 kills and seven digs while Mather had 19 kills and no errors in 36 attacks.

Team focuses on potential for the season

For these women, talent and ability is something they know they possess.

“We know we have potential to be among the top teams in the NAIA,” Schweiger said. “[But] after our losses this weekend, it became evident that we still have a lot of areas that need to be cleaned up.”

The team focuses on “cleaning up” by staying positive and focusing on the strong dynamic the team possesses.

“We have so much talent on this team and we are so blessed to have every single girl on it,” Buckley said. “We are all so excited to see where God takes us because our potential is incredible. Our team chemistry off the court is sure to prove results on the court as well.”

Biola began the day ranked No. 5 in NAIA but dropped to No. 10 by the end of the tournament. The Eagles return to action on Friday at the Concordia University Labor Day Festival in Irvine.

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