No. 4 Biola Pulls Off Stunning Sweep Over No. 3 Cal Baptist
LA MIRADA, Calif. - Senior outside hitter Jessica Buffum led a balanced attack as No. 4 Biola swept past No. 3 California Baptist 25-16, 25-16, 26-24 in a GSAC match on Saturday night in front of a raucous crowd of 1,072 fans at Chase Gymnasium.
The Eagles, who entered the match ranked No. 4 in the latest NAIA National Poll, improve to 18-2 on the season and wrap up the first half of conference play with an 8-2 record. The Lancers, who were ranked No. 3, drop to 18-4 on the season and 7-3 in GSAC competition. It is likely that Biola will switch places with Cal Baptist thanks to its convincing victory when the next NAIA poll comes out on Tuesday.
Buffum led the way with 12 kills, but fellow seniors Kelsey Mitchell and Meghan Warkentin each added 11 with the trio combining for nine blocks. Mitchell finished with just one kill in 22 attacks for a .455 attack percentage while Warkentin hit .375 (11-2-24).
The Eagles had little trouble in the first two sets. In the first, Biola broke an early 4-4 tie with a 10-5 run to go up 14-9 near the midpoint of the match. The Ealges would expand their lead to eight at 19-11 on a kill by Warkentin, then finished with a Buffum kill to win 25-16. Biola hit .478 in the first set, committing just one attack error in 23 swings. The Eagles also forced sideouts on 14 of 16 Cal Baptist serves (87%).
The second set was similar to the first as the Eagles would slowly work their way out to a 15-9 lead. This time, the Lancers closed the gap to three with a short run to make it 16-13, but Biola responded by scoring nine of the next 12 points to win the second set by the same score as the first.
In the third set, though the Lancers jumped out to a 6-1 lead and held a 19-14 advantage late in the set. But Biola came roaring back with a 5-0 run to tie the score at 19-19 thanks to some strong serves by senior Maggie McGill. The two teams traded points until a kill by Noelle Dyk gave the Lancers set-point at 24-23. But a service error and an attack error by Cal Baptist gave the Eagles match point. After a short rally, junior middle blocker Kelsey Christoferson gave the Eagles the 26-24 victory.
Dyk led the Lancers with 13 kills and hit an impressive .407 in the match, committing just two errors in 27 swings. However, California Baptist's leading offensive threat, junior outside hitter Fei Shi, had just five kills and 10 errors, hitting -.122 in the match. She entered ranked second in the conference with 4.20 kills per set.
Biola setters Abbie Wright and Christina Perkins had strong matches with Wright recording 20 assists, nine digs and two aces while Perkins contributed 15 assists and six digs.
Article courtesy of NAIA athletics.