A tale of two transfers

Sierra Bauder and Hannah van Warmerdam tell of their paths to play volleyball for Biola.

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A tale of two transfers

Jason Lin/ THE CHIMES

Jason Lin/ THE CHIMES

Jason Lin/ THE CHIMES

Jason Lin/ THE CHIMES

Dale Fredriks, Writer

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Two players started out their collegiate volleyball careers playing at National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I schools. Two players found almost immediately that they did not enjoy their experience at those schools. Two players talked to head coach Aaron Seltzer, who convinced them Biola was the place for them. Those two players, sophomores Sierra Bauder and Hannah van Warmerdam, have made an immediate impact on the court for the Eagles.

Here and Happy

Bauder hails from Phoenix, Arizona and comes from a family of a mother and father plus two much older sisters. She started her volleyball journey in eighth grade, playing four years of varsity high school volleyball at Scottsdale Christian Academy as well as two years of club play. She went to Western Illinois University on a full-ride scholarship, but soon discovered it was not what she thought it would be.

“There was a lot of issues with coaches and team, and just the dynamics of everything was not what I was expecting,” Bauder said. “I pretty much knew I wanted to transfer by Thanksgiving.”

Bauder emailed coach Seltzer — who had tried to recruit her simultaneously with Western Illinois in high school — and had about a 20-minute conversation when she realized she wanted to be at Biola. Fast-forward approximately eight months — now she is here and happy.

“Playing with all the girls is so amazing,” Bauder said. “The dynamic is completely different [from Western Illinois] and everyone is so nice and encouraging and the coaches are awesome.”

That comfort with the team has translated well on the court for Bauder this season, as she has played in 14 matches this season and earned 120 kills, good enough for fourth on the team. However, her .318 kill percentage is best on the team, as she is very efficient from the middle blocker position.

Unfortunately, Bauder has been dealing with sciatica, an injury that affects her lower back and causes tremendous pain when the nerve is aggravated. She is currently on a rest period, and waiting on the Lord for healing so she can get back on the court and help her team.

An Inviting Environment

Fellow transfer van Warmerdam has a similar story as Bauder, just with some different details and locations. Van Warmerdam grew up in Winton, California, a small town in the Central Valley, with her parents and two brothers. She played four years at Atwater High School and six years of club for Rage Volleyball Club before committing to Texas A&M Corpus Christi.

Van Warmerdam, just like Bauder, quickly discovered that the NCAA Div. I volleyball life was not for her.

“I just feel like everything kind of backfired,” van Warmerdam said. “Team dynamics, coaching and all of that, it just was not the right fit at all.”

She started looking for other schools over her Christmas break and got in contact with Seltzer, who called her back the next day and convinced her to come to Biola. After finishing her first year at Corpus Christi, van Warmerdam made the transition back to her home state.

“The girls here are so great, so accepting,” van Warmerdam said. “I had no problem coming here and fitting in. Always having someone to eat lunch with or do any of that, it’s such a great environment. I cannot even explain it, compared to my other experience.”

A Fantastic Season

Van Warmerdam is having a fantastic season for the Eagles from the outside hitter spot, leading the team with 226 kills and third on the team with a .252 kill percentage. As one of four players on the team who has played in all 78 sets for the season, she has proved a huge asset for Biola.

The team heads back onto the court on Sept. 29 when they face the San Diego Christian College Hawks at 7 p.m. in game one of five game home stand.