Volleyball goes 1-2 in Colorado, sweeps NCAA Division III team

Story by Sara

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Heading into the Colorado College Tournament Friday, the Baker University volleyball team had no idea what to expect from the NCAA Division III teams it would be facing.

However, in their tournament opener the Wildcats swept the Whittier College Poets of Whittier, Calif., 27-25, 25-14 and 25-17.

The Wildcats had nine service errors during the match, but made up for it with nine team blocks. Whittier’s top outside hitter, senior Alyssa Sialaris, led her team with 334 kills on the season, but Baker’s defense at the net limited her to a season low six kills.

In the first set, Whittier had control of a 24-20 lead, but Baker went on a 7-1 run to clinch the 27-25 win. The Wildcats’ momentum carried over into the next two sets behind the 10 kills of junior Crystal Simons and 31 assists of senior Jana Boss.

During its second match of the day, Baker faced the tournament host, Colorado College. The Tigers are 18-6 overall and ranked No. 20 among NCAA Division III teams.

Colorado College combined for 47 kills during the match to earn the 25-12, 25-22 and 25-16 sweep.

Senior Savannah Smith led the way offensively with 12 kills and junior Renata Dill contributed 15 digs from the back row.

In their only matchup Saturday, the Wildcats fell behind Claremont Mudd Scripps 2-0, but after gaining a 10-point lead in the middle of the third set, Baker forced the Athenas into a fourth set.

The Wildcats owned a 23-19 lead late in the fourth, but four consecutive kills by Claremont powered the Athenas through a 7-1 run to secure the match and a 26-24 set victory.

Baker will return to Heart of America Athletic Conference play Tuesday in Kansas City, Mo., against Avila University. Baker is 4-1 in the conference and the Eagles sit at 4-3.