Volleyball team falls to MNU in key match

Story by Sara

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In 2011, the Baker University volleyball team posted a perfect 10-0 regular season Heart of America Athletic Conference record.

The Wildcats and MidAmerica Nazarene University were the top contenders for the HAAC crown throughout the season. But when Baker grasped the title, the Pioneers sought revenge by sweeping the Wildcats at home during the HAAC tournament final to advance on to the NAIA National Tournament.

The conference rivals faced a similar scenario Thursday as Baker headed to Olathe to take on the Pioneers, who stood at the top of the conference with a 6-0 record.

In the opening set, No. 21 MidAmerica Nazarene grabbed an early three-point lead and never looked back as it swept the Wildcats 25-20, 25-15 and 25-22.

Baker did not allow the Pioneers to go on a run longer than four points during the first set, but unforced errors by the Wildcats and five kills by senior Molly Brewster allowed MNU to take an early advantage.

The Pioneers carried their momentum into the second set as they jumped out to a 5-2 lead. But as both teams were plagued with service errors, the Wildcats were able to stay within two points during the middle of the set. However, MidAmerica Nazarene was able to distance itself to earn the 25-15 win.

After a ten-minute intermission, the Wildcats seemed to come out refreshed as freshman Shannon Bond began the set with a service ace. Baker stayed close but was only able to maintain a lead during six points of the set.

With the set tied at 20-20, the momentum carried in the Pioneers favor as Baker tallied three consecutive unforced errors. A kill by senior Megan Hayes would end it at 25-22.

Baker fell to 5-2 in conference play as the Pioneers maintain control of the HAAC. The Wildcats will look to bounce back at 7 p.m. Tuesday against Culver-Stockton College in Collins Center.