Wildcats advance to 3-1 in conference play


Story by Sara

With six games left in its regular season schedule, the Baker University volleyball team is making strides to remain as one of the top teams in the Heart of America Athletic Conference.

The defending conference champions completed their second sweep of a HAAC opponent after defeating Missouri Valley College 3-0 Tuesday in Marshall, Mo.

The Wildcats advanced to 3-1 in conference play with the 25-16, 25-14 and 25-21 victory over the Vikings.

Head coach Kathy Allen said the team went into the match with an attitude that they were determined to win in three sets.

“They actually have several very good players,” Allen said. “Our block was able to force a lot of errors on their part. They hit a lot of balls out of bounds, so that was thanks quite a bit to the block that we put up.“

Baker combined for 7.5 blocks on the night and held Missouri Valley to 25 kills on 130 attempts.

Senior Savannah Smith led the team in kills behind the 20 assists of fellow senior Jana Boss.

Allen said the team wanted to take the Vikings out of their passing game, and did just that by serving up four aces during the match.

Junior libero Renata Dill anchored the back row with 22 digs and Boss posted a double-double with 14 digs of her own.

The Wildcats have the bulk of their conference schedule remaining, as they will play five conference opponents in their last six games.

“If we play our game and keep things the way we should, we should go undefeated (for the rest of the season),” Allen said. “However, MidAmerica (Nazarene) is leading our conference right now and that is going to be a tough one for us.”

The No. 23 MidAmerica Nazarene University Pioneers are 14-4 on the season and 4-0 in conference play. Baker will not face the Pioneers until Oct. 18, which will give the Wildcats time to reach the potential Allen knows the team has within them.

“I still don’t think they have peaked,” Allen said. “I feel like we play well a lot, but I still think we have a lot to learn. I still think they have good chemistry and they are enjoying themselves and enjoying the game, but I think we can get better.”

In order to reach their full potential, Allen said the team needs to improve its attacking game.

The Wildcats will look to advance to 14-9 on the season as Peru State College tries to win its first conference match of the season when the two teams face off at 7 p.m. Monday in Collins Center.