Volleyball team splits opening tournament

Story by Sara Bell, Editor

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Heading into the Northwestern tournament, the Baker University volleyball team knew it would be challenged.

During the four-match tournament, Baker faced three teams that either received votes or made the top 25 in the NAIA preseason poll. The Wildcats, who also earned votes in the coaches’ poll, came away with a pair of wins during the tournament to start the season at 2-2.

During the opening game on Friday, the Wildcats fell to Dordt College 25-21, 25-20 and 25-17. Freshman Hannah Bettge anchored the Wildcats during her collegiate debut, posting a team-high eight kills and 23 assists.

BU bounced back in its second game of the season, stealing a four-set win from Doane College. Junior middle hitter Shannon McCarty stepped up in a big way for Baker during the match. The Johnson County Community College transfer came through for 12 kills and had a .478 hitting percentage.

While McCarty led the Wildcats offensively, BU also displayed its defensive prowess as three Wildcats recoded double-digit digs.

Baker carried its momentum from the Doane win into day two of tournament, defeating Hastings College in four sets. Senior libero Renata Dill contributed another strong outing for the Wildcats, collecting 20 digs from the back court. Bettge also connected for 35 assists during the contest.

The Wildcats’ win streak would end there, though, as No. 23 Northwesten College swept BU in three sets.

Baker will continue its tournament play Friday and Saturday in Bellevue, Neb. The Wildcats first match is scheduled for 1 p.m. against the University of Jamestown.