Women’s volleyball loses to Concordia, Azusa

The women’s volleyball team lost twice Saturday against Concordia University and Azusa Pacific University.


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Chelsee Arnitz stretches for a spike at the Biola vs. APU away game on Tuesday, September 27, 2011. APU wins 3-2. | Courtesy of Biola Athletics.

Zachary Fu, Writer

Chelsee Arnitz stretches for a spike at the Biola vs. APU away game on Tuesday, September 27, 2011. APU wins 3-2. | Courtesy of Biola Athletics.

The Biola women’s volleyball team experienced two hard losses this week to National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics No. 3 Concordia University on Saturday and No. 8 Azusa Pacific University on Tuesday. Biola lost both games in the final stretch of the fifth set. This drops the Eagles to a 15-6 overall record and 3-2 in Golden State Athletic Conference play.

The week began with a loss to Concordia University 3-2 in front of a full house at Chase Gymnasium on Saturday night. It was a tough defeat for the Eagles who lost the last set by a mere two points. Senior Sarah Schweiger (http://athletics.biola.edu/roster.aspx?rp_id=1271&path=vball) led Biola with 12 kills, junior Christine Douglas (http://athletics.biola.edu/roster.aspx?rp_id=1260&path=vball) contributed 11 and junior Nicolette Mather (http://athletics.biola.edu/roster.aspx?rp_id=1263&path=vball) added 10.

Concordia wins the first two sets

Concordia took a quick lead in the first set, but Biola kept the game close. The Eagles tied the game at 8-8, but that sparked a 9-3 Concordia scoring spree. Concordia went on to win the set 25-14.

The second set began very similarly to the first except that the Eagles began with a slight lead. Concordia stuck around, trailing by only three points at the most. However, once the teams were tied at 11, the Concordia Eagles began to gain some momentum and eventually won the set 25-21.

Biola ties the game

Biola was determined to start off the third set strong and came out scoring the first three points. They followed this up with a 9-5 run to make the score 12-5.

“I think that we started to better understand Concordia’s weaknesses. We also started making less errors and started playing great defense,” Mather said.

Concordia answered with a 6-1 run of their own to cut the difference down to two at 13-11. After trading points and slowly whittling down the deficit, Concordia tied the score at 18-18. Biola responded with three straight points to create some breathing room, but Concordia refused to go down. After three points of their own, they tied the score at 21-21. Biola fought back and won the set 25-21 on an error by Concordia’s freshman Jenee Henderson.

Biola started the fourth set with a couple of kills by Schweiger, but trailed 4-8. The Eagles eventually took a 12-11 lead thanks to a kill by Mather, and that was all they needed to drive them for the rest of the set. Biola won 25-20 and tied the game at two sets apiece.

Concordia comes out on top

Biola scored the first three points and kept a slight lead for the majority of the fifth set. However after Concordia tied the score at 11, they went on to win the set 15-13.

“It was a heart breaker, but I think above all we learned from the experience and got better,” Mather said. “We showed a lot of heart and we gave it our all. I am excited to play them again this season.”

The Eagles then lost 3-2 to rival Azusa on Tuesday night in an away game at the Felix Event Center in Azusa, Calif. The Cougars improved to 16-4 overall and 3-2 in the conference. On paper, the Eagles outplayed Azusa in almost every aspect of the game with five players racking up double-digit kills. Freshman Amy Weststeyn had 12 kills and added seven blocks, while Douglas, Schweiger and Mather each added 11 kills, and sophomore Chelsee Arnitz contributed 10. “It is frustrating that we couldn’t take away a win, especially since so many players did well,” Weststeyn said. “Our passing was so great and I think it was just errors at the wrong times that got to us.”

Biola comes out with a strong start

The Eagles came out and dominated the first set of the match with an offensive showcase. The Cougars started the set with a 5-3 lead, but that sparked an 8-0 run by the Eagles, allowing them to take an 11-5 lead. Douglas had two solo blocks and Mather had two kills during that stretch. After trading a few points, the Eagles went on another 8-0 scoring spree to put them up 21-7 and eventually won the set 25-10.

Azusa fights back and ties the game

The second set was not nearly as lopsided as the first, as the Cougars kept the game much closer throughout. Neither team was able to gain more than a three-point lead until the Eagles used a 4-0 run to go up 21-18. However, several rallies later the Cougars tied the score at 22-22 on back-to-back errors by the Eagles. After exchanging a few points, Azusa Pacific held a 24-23 lead. Biola was not ready to give up and fought for the final point until they lost the set 27-25 on an error.

Eagles regain the lead

The third set was very similar to the first with Azusa Pacific opening with a 5-2 lead followed by a 7-0 Biola run which put them up 9-5. The Cougars, not wanting to fall too far behind, called a timeout and then responded with four straight points to tie the set. Later in the set, Biola went up by four at 17-13 thanks in part to a kill by Arnitz and an ace from sophomore Gracee Gallarda. The Cougars made one final push in the set and came within one at 20-19, but a clutch block by Douglas and junior Rachel Buckley powered a five-point run to close the set and give Biola a 2-1 match lead.

Cougars win two sets in a row to win the game

The Eagles began the fourth set from behind again with Azusa Pacific opening with a 6-3 lead. Biola answered with a 7-2 run to take the lead at 10-8. After trading the lead several times, the Cougars pulled away 24-21 on a kill by sophomore Christy Cain. The Eagles were once again one point away from losing a set and fought back as they did in the second set. Kills by Schweiger and Weststeyn, and a block by Weststeyn and Douglas tied the set at 24-24. However, Cain got another kill and Azusa’s senior Amy Alkazin drilled down the set winner to tie the game at 2-2.

Azusa started the fifth set with a 5-3 lead, but this time Biola was unable to recover. The Eagles kept the deficit as small as possible until the Cougars went on a 6-3 run to put them one point away from taking the game with the score at 14-8. Biola did its best to hold on, but Azusa pulled out the win at 15-10.

“I am really proud of our team so far. We have a lot of potential, and I really hope that we can continue to grow as a team and ultimately glorify God with our play,” Mather said. “Whether we win or lose we are still a team and we are going to work through any difficulties we might face.”

Biola will try to find their groove when they return to the court on Saturday, Oct. 1 to face Westmont College in Santa Barbara at 7 p.m. at Murchison Gymnasium. “I think as a team we’re ready to play well again. We had some really great moments in both the Concordia and the Azusa match, we just need to stay focused and close better,” Weststeyn concluded.

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