Bluejays falter under the Eagles’ strength

A hard-fought five-set victory goes in Biola volleyball’s favor against Tabor College.

Dale Fredriks, Writer

Biola volleyball closed out their final match of pool play at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics playoffs in dramatic fashion. Following a four-set loss to No. 2 ranked Lindsey Wilson College, the Eagles won a tight five-set match over the Tabor College Bluejays.

Biola surprisingly lost the first two sets to the underdog Bluejays, as the Eagles had an average kill percentage of just .108 over the two sets compared to Tabor’s .244 average. Biola also committed 18 attacking errors over the two sets, while Tabor only tallied eight.

Fortunately, the Eagles cleaned up their play drastically over the next three sets, as well as forced Tabor to make more errors. The third set proved the most dramatic, as Tabor had two set point opportunities, but Biola fended them off and eventually took a 27-25 win off an attacking error from the Bluejays.

The fourth set stayed close throughout, but a clutch triple block followed by an ace from junior libero Tess Van Grouw gave Biola a 25-21 win and forced the decisive fifth game. In that fifth game, Biola got out to an early lead, where they stayed for the remainder of the set. After a small run of points from Tabor, sophomore outside Brooke Watts ended the match 15-11 with a beautiful kill from the left side of the net down the line.

Junior opposite Karly Dantuma led Biola with 15 kills and was joined in double-digits by senior middle Olivia Sorensen, who finished the match with 10. Van Grouw had yet another fantastic night in the back row, digging 21 balls plus the aforementioned set-ending ace. The Eagles won the blocking battle, garnering 15 stuffs as opposed to the Bluejays’ 11.

Biola moves on into the round of 16-bracket play that begins on Dec. 2. They are scheduled to face Hastings College at 1:45 p.m., a team that Biola faced once before this year at the Hastings College Tournament on Aug. 26. Back then, Hastings grabbed the 3-0 sweep over the Eagles, and they came into the national tournament ranked third overall. The Eagles have changed drastically since that early in the season, but they will still need to bring their A-game in order to grab a win.