Volleyball wins thriller at Concordia

The Eagles’ first PacWest game saw them take down the conference champions.

Austin Green, Writer

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After a successful two weekends in San Francisco, Biola volleyball headed back down to Southern California for their first PacWest conference matchup. The Eagles proved up to their toughest challenge yet, taking down reigning PacWest champion Concordia University in a back-and-forth five-set match. The match spoiled Concordia’s home opener and moved the Eagles to 7-2 (1-0 PacWest) on the season.

Back and forth play

The first set went back and forth between the two teams before Biola scored five straight to turn a two-point deficit into a three-point lead. The Eagles controlled the match from there, finishing on a 7-1 run to take the set 25-17.

Biola could not find a similar scoring streak in the second set, as Concordia rebounded nicely. Although the Eagles rallied back from a 19-15 deficit to tie the set 20-20, the home team scored five of the next eight points to put the set out of reach for Concordia and tie the match at one apiece.

The next set proved the most tightly contested one yet, but Biola finally wrestled control thanks to a total team effort. Concordia rallied late, scoring four in a row to tie the score at 23-23, but Biola responded with two straight points, winning the set on a block from junior setter Brinley Beresford and freshman middle blocker Bekah Roth.

Again, Concordia responded. The previous defending champs jumped out to a 4-0 lead and never looked back, controlling the entire fourth set en route to an eventual 25-21 victory. That forced Biola to play in their fourth five-set match of the young season.

Familiar faces stuff stat sheet

With the fifth set again getting off to a hotly contested start, the Eagles turned to their top outside hitters to make a difference. Sophomore Sabrina Winslow and redshirt freshman Savannah Hilde both answered the call, with two kills each in the deciding set to push Biola over the hump and give the entire athletics program their first conference victory.

Many familiar faces stuffed the stat line for the Eagles. Junior opposite hitter Karly Dantuma recorded a team-high with 16 kills and also chipped in six blocks, while Winslow and Hilde had 14 and 11 kills, respectively. Junior middle blocker Sierra Bauder also contributed seven kills and five blocks. Senior libero Tess Van Grouw continued her defensive dominance with 30 digs, with freshman libero Sami Horver adding 21 digs of her own to lock down the court for Biola.

The Eagles’ schedule continues to ramp up with two more important games in the coming week. First is a trip to archrival Azusa Pacific University (9-1, 2-0 PacWest) on Sept. 22, followed by Biola volleyball’s first NCAA home game at 7 p.m. on Sept. 23 against Point Loma Nazarene University (3-6, 0-1 PacWest) in Chase Gymnasium.