On to bigger and better things

A win over the Vanguard Lions on Nov. 10 gives Biola volleyball another trip to the NAIA playoffs.

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On to bigger and better things

Caroline Sommers/ THE CHIMES

Caroline Sommers/ THE CHIMES

Caroline Sommers/ THE CHIMES

Caroline Sommers/ THE CHIMES

Dale Fredriks, Writer

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A trip to the postseason again belongs to Biola’s volleyball team, as they dispatched the Vanguard University Lions on Nov. 10. The road victory required four sets to decide the victor, with Vanguard taking the first set but Biola coming back to sweep the remaining three. The Eagles finish the regular season at 23-9 overall and 13-3 in Golden State Athletic Conference play.

Early Deficits

The Lions stormed out of the gate in set one, led by a dominating .400 kill percentage on the set. Vanguard had a match-high 15 kills in that set with only three errors, while Biola had nine kills and six errors. The home crowd fed the Lions and Biola fell to a 25-17 deficit.

Set two featured a 7-0 run from the Eagles right from the start, which put them in the driver’s seat for the remainder of the match. Vanguard brought Biola’s lead down to two, but proved unable to complete the comeback, and Biola evened the match with a 25-22 win.

After falling behind in the third set 10-7, Biola head coach Aaron Seltzer called a timeout to regroup his team. Out of the timeout, the Eagles lit up the Vanguard defense with a 10-1 run to give them the lead, where they stayed. After the Lions fought back to a one-point gap at 21-20, Biola scored the next four points to secure the victory.

The fourth set seemed similar to the first set, except the roles switched. Biola dominated from the get-go, going up 8-1 then leading by as many as 12 points. Vanguard clawed back a little, but the Eagles flew away with a 25-18 win that ensured a match victory and playoff spot.

Incredibly rewarding win

Thanks to that win, Biola finds themselves in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics playoffs for the 16th year, where they take the No. 21 rank in the latest Tachikara Top 25 coaches’ poll. Because they sit one spot outside of the top 20, they need to play in the opening round and will face the La Sierra University Golden Eagles.

Biola has faced the Golden Eagles once before this season, on Sept. 2 at the Hope International University Labor Day Tournament. Biola took a gritty five-set win over La Sierra in that meeting, but cannot rest on their laurels as many things have changed for both teams over the course of the season. In this upcoming match, Biola has the home-court advantage but also needs to come out ready for a barn-burner.

“I think what could definitely help [us] is the fact that we are at home, so that is nice,” said sophomore outside hitter Karly Dantuma. “So I think, obviously making sure we have a lot of fans. We have not had a home game in a while, so maybe that will come through. But also, energy amongst ourselves, like, there are certain games where we enter and are really pumped and ready to go.”

The Eagles face off against La Sierra on Saturday, Nov. 19 inside Chase Gymnasium at 7 p.m. The winner earns the right to fly to Sioux City, Iowa for the remainder of the tournament.