The Eagles came into the the NCCAA championships in Point Lookout, Missouri as defending champions, and on day one of the tournament they looked the part, picking up sweeps against Piedmont International University and Southwestern Christian University.
After getting off to a bit of a slow start in the first set against Piedmont, the Eagles turned things around and gained a 14-8 advantage. They closed out the set 25-17 on an ace from sophomore setter Vanessa Garcia.
Set two proved an easier task for Biola as junior outside hitter Sabrina Winslow and sophomore middle blocker Bekah Roth put down several kills each to help the Eagles pull ahead 12-3. Winslow later pulled her team ahead 20-8 on a kill and sophomore outside hitter Savannah Hilde closed the set out 25-11.
Winslow continued to excel and make sure her team did not slow down, picking up another kill to make it 20-13, Eagles. Senior opposite hitter Karly Dantuma closed the match out on a smash.
Dantuma and Winslow led the charge with nine and eight kills respectively, while senior setter Brinley Beresford tallied 18 assists. Sophomore libero Sami Hover put up 14 digs to lead the defense.
In the second game of the day, against Southwestern Christian, the Eagles jumped ahead 15-12 in the first set and never looked back, taking the set 25-15.
Biola continued their steady play in the second set, and Winslow finished a 25-17 set win with another smash.
The third set was the Eagles’ best of the match, as dominant play all around helped them pull ahead early, and they never looked back as Beresford put the match away 25-13 on a well-placed tip.
Winslow led the offense with 12 kills, followed by Hilde with 10 kills. Beresford again had 18 assists and Hover continued to play strong from the back row with 16 digs.
The Eagles will look to book a spot in the NCCAA semifinals with an 8 a.m. match against Campbellsville University tomorrow.
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