Wildcats sink Vikings’ undefeated season


Chad Phillips

Sophomore Shannon Bond and senior Crystal Simon jump to block a spike during the match against Missouri Valley on Sept. 17 in Collins Gym. Baker won in three straight sets, handing Missouri Valley its first loss of the season.

Story by Sara Bell, Editor

Prior to Tuesday night, the Missouri Valley College volleyball team had not lost a game this season. That all changed when the Vikings left Collins Center.

The Baker University volleyball team swept Missouri Valley 25-19, 25-21 and 25-22 on Tuesday, improving to 2-0 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference.

“We wanted to stay relaxed, and we wanted to stay calm,” head coach Kathy Allen said. “We knew that they would probably be able to stay with us and play us point-for-point, so our strategy was just to make sure we were relaxed, focused and not worried if we got behind.”

BU did trail the Vikings by a few points in each of the sets, but the Wildcats’ defense kept the team alive.

“We blocked very well, and we ran our offense well,” Allen said. “One of the things that we’re able to do is just keep the ball in play when the set’s just not quite there and we can wait until the next time.”

Senior libero Renata Dill anchored Baker’s back row, dishing up 25 digs for the Wildcats.

“Renata has had an incredible year,” Allen said. “She has really come into her own as a player… Missouri Valley did a very good job of keeping the ball away from her on serve-receive and I don’t blame them because she’s done an excellent job with passing.”

While Missouri Valley struggled to get past Baker’s backcourt, it also had to fight off the BU block. The Wildcats posted 11 team blocks, which helped hold MVC to a .090 hitting percentage.

Senior Jasmyn Turner led Baker’s offensive attack with 10 kills. Junior Shannon McCarty followed closely behind with eight.

Dill said the Wildcats’ 12-6 record, which includes an eight-game win streak from Aug. 30-Sept. 13, is a reflection of the team’s the ability to play together.

“We’re meshing really well and the chemistry is just getting better and better,” Dill said. “We’ve played really tough teams and so it was good to experience that.”

Just three days before the Wildcats swept Missouri Valley, Baker finished its toughest tournament yet.

During the MidAmerica Nazarene invitational, the Wildcats faced No. 5 Midland University, rival Ottawa University, No. 11 Northwestern University and Grand View University, which is receiving votes in the NAIA coaches’ poll.

BU went 1-3 in the tournament, but Allen said this record did not reflect the way the Wildcats played.

“What our tournament schedule does for us is it makes conference seem easy, that’s what I like,” Allen said. “That’s one of the things that we felt tonight. We’ve been playing such tough competition that when we were behind a couple points, we just stayed focused.”

Baker will try to maintain that focus on Saturday as it continues its homestand against Waldorf College. Baker will take on the 6-13 Warriors at 4 p.m. in Collins Center.