Volleyball’s coach Seltzer discusses sixth consecutive team appeareance at NAIA nationals

Women’s volleyball team will begin NAIA National Tournament play on Tuesday.



Biola Sports Information

Conner Penfold, Writer

Courtesy | Biola Sports Information

In his 11th year as head coach of Biola’s women’s volleyball, Aaron Seltzer is in a comfortably familiar spot. After posting a 27-4 overall record, including 12-2 in the Golden State Athletic Conference, Seltzer’s NAIA No. 4-ranked club is headed back to Sioux City, Iowa for their sixth consecutive NAIA National Tournament appearance.

“We’re definitely talented. I think what will take this team a little bit further is if we have what it takes upstairs,” he said.

Seltzer says depth of team key to season

The team lost just four regular season games for the third time in the club’s 44-year history, with 2008 being the most recent occurrence. This year’s continued success is no surprise to Seltzer, but he noted the developing depth as a staple of the current team.

“We’re the deepest team we’ve ever had,” Seltzer said. “We’ve had girls go down all year and the next one steps up and plugs right in … this year we’re getting contributions from everybody.”

The biggest contributions have come from fifth-year senior outside hitter Christine Douglas and sophomore middle blocker Amy Weststeyn. The two combined for 603 kills and 141 blocks, both having remarkable seasons offensively and defensively. It’s the leadership and experience of the team that Seltzer says will make another trip to Sioux City just as comfortable as the last.

“Everybody is aware of what it takes,” Seltzer said. “They’re comfortable with the format and the travel … so I think they’re prepared mentally for what they need to do.”

Lineup change helped push season forward

After losing game two of the Paul Elliott Invitational to host South Oregon University in August, Seltzer manipulated the lineup in hopes of making some noticeable changes to the team’s positioning. The switch ignited their 18-game win streak.

“We went from a 6-2 to a 5-1, where last year we ran the whole year at a 6-2,” Seltzer said. “What the 5-1 did for us was get our better passers on the court at the same time. It changed the dynamic, it changed the look of everything.”

The passers benefiting from the lineup change tend to go unnoticed, not recognized as vital parts to a working machine. Seltzer showered those position players with high praise.

“Our group of passers has probably flown under the radar,” Seltzer said. “Tara [Rallis], Charley [Parker], Alex [Brehaut] and Crissy [Cunningham] have really gone in there and carried the load through injuries. Those girls have really been the ones that have kept us going.”

National Tournament Pool Play begins Tuesday

The Eagles will face Lindsey Wilson College next Tuesday, followed by Missouri Baptist University on Wednesday and Lee University on Thursday to close out pool play. Seltzer’s club knows just how much of a threat the No. 9-ranked Lee Flames could pose. In the midst of Biola’s 18-game win streak they lost just one set — to Lee.

“They’re a really good team,” Seltzer said of Lee. “It’s hard to beat a team twice … there’s no surprises with that.”

Seltzer and his squad won’t be looking ahead to Lee, however.

“We’re working on things with our team that need to get better,” Seltzer said, “not necessarily hyping one match bigger than another and just knowing that it’s a process you go through.

“One match a day, and hopefully we can get through one each day,” he said. 

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