Volleyball falls in HAAC Tournament

Story by Hayley Morrical, Writer

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At a final record of 15-17, the Baker volleyball team ended its season in the first round of the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) Tournament Saturday. Culver Stockton University, the No. 4 seed, topped the ‘Cats in three sets 25-21, 25-19, 25-17.

Baker started its conference slate strong, winning its first three games. The Wildcats ended the season losing 12 of their last 15 games and finished 4-5 in the HAAC before Saturday’s loss.

The Wildcats ended their season two rounds earlier than their 2013 campaign when the women took on the MidAmerica Nazarene Pioneers for the conference title in Olathe.

“We didn’t play bad but we didn’t play our best,” freshman Kallie Fischer said. “It’s hard playing like we did after how great we played Thursday against Newman.”

The ‘Cats put down 33 kills against Culver Stockton. Leading the team was junior Natalie Minchow with 12, followed by junior Danielle French with nine. This amounted to total hitting ratios of .154, .138 and .1 over the three sets. Sophomore Hannah Bettge turned out 24 assists for the hitters.

Defensively, senior Sarah Slater led the back row with 15 digs. She will end her college career at Baker being ranked nationally at number 20 in total digs and 22 in digs per game. French also ends this season nationally ranked sixth in total blocks and seventh in blocks per game. French’s final total for kills was first on the team with 246. Minchow finished right behind French with 245 kills.

Culver-Stockton plays at MidAmerica Nazarene in the semifinals of the conference tournament. The winner of that game awaits the winner of the Evangel-Graceland semifinal game for the conference title.

After starting out strong and facing troubles toward the end of the season, the ‘Cats leave the fall season with mixed results. The Wildcats lose five seniors in Kylie Pease, Lauren Bechard, Sara Slater, Taryn Brees, Shannon McCarty and junior Kaysha Green.