Volleyball team sweeps Waldorf in final non-conference match

Story by Sara

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After dropping two straight Heart of America Athletic Conference matches, head coach Kathy Allen said the Baker University volleyball team had a “come to Jesus talk” during practice about stepping up its defense, blocking and emotion.

The Wildcats brought all of those components Saturday as they got back on the winning trail by sweeping Waldorf College 25-15, 25-18 and 25-14 in Collins Center.

Senior Savannah Smith began and ended the opening set for the Wildcats, as she powered a kill by the Warriors to take the 1-0 lead and used a tip to end the set 25-15.

Waldorf jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the second set, but Baker was able to match the Warriors point for point early. However, a 6-0 run behind the serve of junior Renata Dill helped the Wildcats pull away for the 25-18 win.

In the final set, Baker owned an early 7-3 lead and distanced itself even farther in the middle portions with a 7-1 run. The rally began with a kill by freshman Danielle French and was highlighted by a service ace from Smith and kills from junior Crystal Simon, senior Jana Boss and freshman Shannon Bond.

The run extended Baker’s lead to 22-11, and Smith once again ended the match with a kill past the Warriors to lead Baker to the 25-14 victory.

Allen said the Wildcats’ middle hitters French and Bond played exceptionally well during the match, which helped lead the Wildcats to the sweep over the Warriors.

“Our middles were on, and when our middles are on it really helps everybody else,” Allen said.

French had eight kills, three assisted and one solo block, while Bond added seven kills and five assisted blocks.

Smith recorded a double-double as she lead the team with 10 kills and 10 digs.

Tuesday will mark final regular season match for the Wildcats. Baker will take on Benedictine College, who is 2-6 in conference play, at 7 p.m. in Collins Center to determine whether the Wildcats will receive a home bid in the opening rounds of the HAAC tournament. It will also serve as Senior Night for the Wildcats as the team honors Boss and Smith.

The pair has served as leaders for the Wildcats throughout their careers and continue to do so during their senior season. Smith leads the team with 36 aces and 301 kills on the season and Boss has recorded 848 assists.

“(Jana and Savannah) are great leaders,” Allen said. “They are all-conference players and they mean everything to the team this year. They have done a great job.”