Volleyball team proceeds to semifinals, defeats Avila

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Volleyball team proceeds to semifinals, defeats Avila

Story by Sara

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In the opening round of Heart of America Athletic Conference postseason play, the Baker University volleyball team advanced to the tournament semifinals by defeating Avila University 3-1 Saturday in Collins Center.

The No. 4 seed Wildcats began the first set of the quarterfinal match with an 11-8 lead and would soon have control at 21-17 behind back-to-back kills from senior Savannah Smith.

Avila found its way back into the set to tie it at 24-24, but after a timeout Baker responded by rattling off two straight points to take the set 26-24.

In the opening half of the second set, Avila found the momentum for a 9-2 run, and the Wildcats would not recover as they fell 25-22.

Baker responded quickly, though, taking the following two sets 25-14 and 25-19.

Smith led the team with 20 kills and fellow senior Jana Boss posted a double-double with 43 assists and 13 digs. Junior libero Renata Dill anchored the back row by digging up 20 of Avila’s attacks.

Baker will take on the No. 1 seed MidAmerica Nazarene University at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Olathe.

The Pioneers advanced to the semifinals by sweeping Benedictine College 25-18, 25-21 and 25-18 Saturday. During the regular season, the Wildcats fell to MidAmerica Nazarene in three sets but will look to avenge their loss to the Pioneers from the 2011 HAAC Tournament final.