Stars power volleyball’s sweep in crucial conference match

The Eagles dominated on both sides and broke a school record, getting revenge for an earlier loss to Point Loma.

Senior+middle+blocker+Sierra+Bauder+and+senior+setter+Brinley+Beresford+go+up+for+a+block+against+Point+Loma+on+Oct.+26.
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Stars power volleyball’s sweep in crucial conference match

Senior middle blocker Sierra Bauder and senior setter Brinley Beresford go up for a block against Point Loma on Oct. 26.

Senior middle blocker Sierra Bauder and senior setter Brinley Beresford go up for a block against Point Loma on Oct. 26.

Courtesy of Adam Washington/Biola Athletics

Senior middle blocker Sierra Bauder and senior setter Brinley Beresford go up for a block against Point Loma on Oct. 26.

Courtesy of Adam Washington/Biola Athletics

Courtesy of Adam Washington/Biola Athletics

Senior middle blocker Sierra Bauder and senior setter Brinley Beresford go up for a block against Point Loma on Oct. 26.

Austin Green, Managing Editor

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Three Eagles recorded double-digit kill totals, one broke a school record for single-game hitting percentage and Biola volleyball swept a must-win match at Chase Gymnasium Friday over Point Loma Nazarene University, one of the Eagles’ toughest opponents.

STARS SHINE, SHATTER RECORD

The Eagles comfortably took all three sets by at least five points over a PLNU squad that had won at Chase in 2017 and swept Biola at home earlier this season. The victory keeps the second-place Eagles near the top of the PacWest standings while handing the Sea Lions their fourth conference loss of 2018.

“That was by far our best match of the year,” said head coach Aaron Seltzer. “Defensively, we were great, offensively, it was phenomenal… That was about as good as we could play.”

The Eagles’ veteran stars gave a family weekend crowd, which included President Barry Corey, plenty to cheer about. In perhaps her best individual performance of a very special season, sophomore outside hitter Christina DenBoer tallied 12 kills while leading her team in aces with two and digs with a season-high 19. Sophomore setter Vanessa Garcia and senior setter Brinley Beresford recorded 23 and 18 assists, respectively, in a much improved passing attack.

Senior middle blocker Sierra Bauder notched a team-leading 13 kills and senior opposite hitter Karly Dantuma had 12. They also became the first volleyball teammates in Biola history to record hitting percentages of .800 or better in the same match. Bauder’s .867 mark shatters the old record of .800, which Dantuma tied.

“You want to play your best against good teams, and we played our best against a good team,” Seltzer said. “It speaks volumes. Our seniors played well… Sierra was phenomenal, Karly was phenomenal.”

SET BY SET

After a back and forth opening to set one, the Eagles took a 9-6 lead, getting the crowd going after kills from DenBoer and Dantuma and a block from the front line. PLNU immediately stormed back to tie it, but Bauder responded with back-to-back kills to put the Eagles ahead. Biola led from then on as DenBoer, Bauder and Dantuma feasted en route to a 25-18 win.

“When you start a game with a couple good plays, it sets the tone for the rest of the match,” DenBoer said. “I think I was able to work off of that for the rest of the match.”

The Eagles stormed out of the gates in set two, jumping ahead 5-1 led by two kills and a block from Bauder. Point Loma would recover, going on a 4-point run to take an 8-7 advantage—what would prove their largest streak and lead of the match. The score went back and forth until Biola finally gained some ground over the Sea Lions with a 6-1 run, highlighted again by strong play from DenBoer, Bauder and Dantuma. The set would end 25-20 on a kill from redshirt junior outside hitter Sabrina Winslow.

Set three proved by far the most dominant of the match for the Eagles. Three Bauder kills and a PLNU error gave the Eagles an 8-5 lead and Biola turned it into a rout on a 5-0 run with three kills from DenBoer, a tip kill from Beresford and an ace from sophomore libero Sami Hover. The home team controlled the match from there, scoring seven of the final eight points in a 25-13 sweep-sealing win.

The Eagles (18-6, 15-3 in conference) remain a half-game ahead of the University of Hawaii-Hilo for second place in the PacWest standings. The Sea Lions, which were in third place earlier this week, drop to fifth behind Hilo and Chaminade University.

Biola also keeps pace with first-place Azusa Pacific University, trailing the rival Cougars by just half a game. The Eagles start their last road trip of the season on Nov. 2 at Dominican University.