Volleyball team finishes 2-2 in opening tournament

Story by Sara

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The Baker University volleyball team opened its season Friday by dropping its matches against Grace College and Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa; however, the Wildcats bounced back Saturday to finish the Northwestern Tournament with a 2-2 record.

The team headed into the tournament aware it would be facing high-caliber competition, but head coach Kathy Allen said she was surprised by the strength of the Wildcats first opponent, Grace College.

The ‘Cats fell to the Lancers in three sets, 25-18, 25-16, 25-22.

“We played very poorly; we had a lot of jitters,” Allen said. “It was our very first match, and we didn’t get beat by a worse team. They’re a good team, but we certainly could have done better in the game.”

Allen said the team was experimenting with lineups during the match, which may have plagued the ‘Cats during their opening match.

In the nightcap against Morningside College, the ‘Cats found a lineup that seemed to work, but they fell to the Mustangs in five sets.

“Truthfully, we played Morningside really well,” Allen said. “It was a good match, they were a very, very good team and it was one that could have gone either way. We just ended up a little bit on the short end of the stick. We made some adjustments and stuck with them.”

Senior Savannah Smith came through for the team by leading the offense with 14 kills. Junior Crystal Simon added 21 digs, and senior Jana Boss contributed 32 assists.

The ‘Cats refocused Saturday by recording a 3-0 shutout over Valley City State University and a 3-1 win over Dakota Wesleyan University.

“Our blocking and our defense improved dramatically,” Allen said. “One of our claims to fame has always been our blocking and our defense … We just developed some confidence in the things that we are good at. “

The team will return to the road Friday and Saturday, as it heads to another four-game tournament in Bellevue, Neb.