Volleyball loses in five sets

Eagles break win streak after faltering against Hawaii Hilo.

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Volleyball loses in five sets

Aaron Zhang / THE CHIMES

Aaron Zhang / THE CHIMES

Aaron Zhang / THE CHIMES

Aaron Zhang / THE CHIMES

Joel Ashor, Sports Editor

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Riding a three-game win streak, volleyball returned to action looking to continue their winning ways against Hawaii Hilo University in a PacWest matchup at Chase Gymnasium on Thursday. Biola came out just on the wrong side of a thrilling five-setter, losing the final set 18-16.

FORCING A FIFTH

In the first set, both teams battled back and forth, with the Eagles taking a 12-10 lead on a kill from senior setter Brinley Beresford. Many unforced errors put the Vulcans ahead 17-14, but following a timeout the Eagles tied things up at 17 on an ace from redshirt sophomore Christina DenBoer. The unforced errors continued and allowed Hilo to pull ahead 23-17, and they closed out the set out on a kill 25-20.

Looking to clean up their play in the second set, junior outside hitter Sabrina Winslow came out absolutely on fire to start the second set, recording three of the Eagle’s first five points on kills. An eight point run put Biola up 8-1 early in the second set, and they pushed the lead to 15-7 to force a Vulcans timeout. Biola continued to push as Winslow and senior opposite hitter Karly Dantuma recorded back-to-back kills to make the score 19-7, and they closed the set out 25-12 on a thundering kill from DenBoer.

Much like the first set, the third began with the two teams trading points until a mini run put the Vulcans up 13-9 to force an Eagles timeout. The unforced errors returned for Biola and Hilo took a 19-11 lead on a kill. Despite the comeback effort from the Eagles, the Vulcans closed out the set 25-17 on yet another unforced error from Biola.

“We were very streaky, good runs, bad runs. We had to climb ourselves back into it, which was positive, but we were consistently inconsistent and didn’t execute down the stretch well,” said head coach Aaron Seltzer.

Needing to play much better to force a fifth set, the Eagles did just that, pulling to a 7-3 lead in the fourth on a kill from Dantuma, but the Vulcans kicked into gear offensively to tie the score at nine. The Biola offense then doubled down, led by two kills from senior middle blocker Sierra Bauder to take a 17-12 lead. Yet another Bauder killed pushed the lead to 23-17, and they forced a decisive fifth set on a Vulcans hitting error 25-19.

“Our middles did extremely well, they were crushing it on the slide, and they were unstoppable the whole match,” Winslow said.

THE FINAL BOUT

With every point crucial in a 15 point fifth set, DenBoer put her team ahead 8-7 with consecutive kills. The two teams traded points from there, but the Vulcans took a 14-13 lead to force match point. The Eagles held strong as Bauder tallied a kill and DenBoer saved another match point with a kill to make it 16 apiece. However, the Vulcans fourth straight match point proved to be the charm as they closed out the match on a kill to win the fifth set 18-16.

“We just need a good night’s rest and we’ll come back fired up and use this to our advantage and learn from our mistakes,” Winslow said.

Bauder continued her dominance with 15 kills, followed closely by DenBoer and Dantuma with 14 apiece. Beresford and sophomore setter Vanessa Garcia dished out 28 and 26 kills respectively, while DenBoer led the defense with an astounding 18 digs.

“If you don’t play your best, you lose, that’s how good the conference is, and that’s what happened tonight—we didn’t play our best and we lost,” Seltzer said.

The Eagles (8-5, 4-2 PacWest) will look to get back in the win column on Saturday against Hawaii Pacific University at 7 p.m.