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Volleyball team upsets No. 1 Viterbo

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The Baker volleyball team captured its biggest victory of the season Oct. 16 when the Wildcat upset No. 1 Viterbo University in five sets in Des Moines, Iowa.

The defense from the Wildcats has been the strong point of the team so far this year. Senior Danielle French, who is in the top 10 in the country in total blocks, led the Wildcats Friday with seven block assists, and she also added 10 kills on the offensive side.

“We are very proud of our blocking this year. All of our front row player contribute to our blocking stats but Danielle French is the team leader,” Junior Elizabeth Arnold said. “She has the highest number of blocks but also pushes the rest of the team to stay focused while at the net.”

Freshman Kailin Cordes also led Baker with 10 kills, while freshman Olivia Brees and senior Natalie Minchow had five kills each.

This loss was only the second of the season for Viterbo, which dropped to 26-2 after Friday’s match.

“It was extremely exciting to come out and beat Viterbo,” French said. “The entire match was exciting even when we were down. It was the best match we have played so far this season and it was because every single player was on top of their game.”

There were some outstanding performances from some of the others on the team as well. Junior Kadie Baumgardner had a team-high 18 digs. The Wildcats will need to see more players step up as well as they move toward the last stretch of their season.

“The key for us for the rest of the season, as well as the conference tournament, is to continue to put all of our pieces together on the court,” Arnold said. “Our inconsistency so far this season has been because some nights our defense is on but our offense is off, and other nights our offense is on but our defense isn’t.”

Baker has five regular season matches left. These games carry some weight because they will be used to consider the seeding in the Heart of America Athletic Conference tournament at the end of the season.

To Arnold, one match in particular stands out on the schedule.

“I am looking forward to our match against Avila this year because it is our last home game of the season as well as senior night,” Arnold said. “It is always fun to play in front of our home crowd. We really appreciate the support we’ve gotten this year from the students.”

Baker finished off matches Friday with a four-set loss to Ashford University. The Wildcats fell to 14-11 on the season.

Moving forward, French outlined the team’s goals to close out the season.

“For regular season our goal is to finish in the top four of the conference to secure a home tournament game,” French said. “For postseason I think we all would like to finish in the top three and beat one of the conference teams we have lost to because we all know we can beat them.”

This week, Baker travels to Peru State on Tuesday and then comes back to compete in Baldwin City on Saturday against Culver-Stockton and Ottawa.

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Volleyball team upsets No. 1 Viterbo