Eagles hatch 10 new players for 2016 season

Biola’s powerhouse volleyball program expands for the 2016 season with 10 new recruits.

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Eagles hatch 10 new players for 2016 season

John Uy/THE CHIMES

John Uy/THE CHIMES

Marika Adamopoulos

John Uy/THE CHIMES

Marika Adamopoulos

Marika Adamopoulos

John Uy/THE CHIMES

Dale Fredriks, Writer

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The women’s volleyball team has been one of its most consistent highlights, making it to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics playoffs for the past nine years. Head coach Aaron Seltzer looks to continue the run this upcoming year, and has brought in 10 new faces to boost a roster that lost seven seniors.

Gone with the old, in with the new

Biola finished with an overall record of 30-4 last season, eventually losing in the quarterfinal round of the NAIA tournament to the Columbia College Cougars, who went on to win the championship.

With the end of the season came the end of the road for seven seniors, all of whom saw significant minutes each game and contributed in a big way to the team’s success. The coaching staff knew they would have to recruit solid players who could take up the mantle and continue the legacy.

“With losing a class of seven seniors, it’s always a bit overwhelming to replace such a large group and have so much turnover from year to year,” said Abbie Wright, assistant coach. “However, the Lord has been good to our program, as we have 10 incoming girls next season. Although you always miss those that leave the program, we are excited about this new group of kids.”

All 10 players have committed to play at Biola, with five incoming freshmen and five transfer students. Five of the 10 players enter as outside hitters with the rest split up into two middle blockers, two back row players and one setter.

The outside hitters coming in for next year are Savannah Hilde, Sabrina Winslow, Alyx Dunham, Brooke Watts and Hannah van Warmerdam. Hilde, Dunham and Watts are all incoming as freshmen, while Winslow will transfer from the NCAA Div. I Fresno State Bulldogs and van Warmerdam coming from a year at the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

Committed to Biola

Last year, Alyssa Mason filled the middle blocker position and the year before, Amy Weststeyn controlled the middle of the net. Both players earned All-American honors, and Biola looks to keep the streak going by bringing in two experienced middle blockers. Leanna Schott committed to join Biola after spending two years at Pierce College, where she helped lead the team to a state finals appearance in 2015. Sierra Bauder joins the middle blocking force after one year at Western Illinois University, where she played in 22 matches, starting 11 of them.

The back row that has always been solid for Biola, has gained two new freshmen in Anna Houser and Kaitlin O’Brien. Houser played for Marist High School in Eugene, Ore., leading them in her junior and senior seasons as a captain. O’Brien played for Saddleback Valley Christian School for her past four years of high school, where she helped lead the team to three consecutive California Interscholastic Federation championships.

Brinley Beresford enters in as the final new face for the Eagles, and she claims one of the most important roles on the court — the setter. Beresford comes to Biola after one season with the NCAA Div. II Regis University Rangers.

All the new faces and talent will certainly make next season interesting, but coaches and players alike have faith that the returners will rally behind the new athletes and help them along in the transition.

“We got to meet all the new girls a little while ago and they all seemed like they would fit on the team super well,” said freshman outside hitter Christina DenBoer. “They were all nice, funny and not to mention talented!”  

Though the schedule for 2016 season is not released yet, look for Eagles’ volleyball to begin in early August.