Volleyball team stands alone at top of HAAC

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Volleyball team stands alone at top of HAAC

Story by Sara

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The last time the Baker University volleyball team played in Collins Center, head coach Kathy Allen claimed her 300th career win, but Tuesday the Wildcats recorded an even bigger victory.

Baker fans fled to the court after the ‘Cats secured the top spot in the Heart of America Athletic Conference with a 3-1 victory over MidAmerica Nazarene University.

“I’m going to call this one of the top three (wins) in my career, and it’s a long career,” Allen said. “It was nice to get the 300, but this was superb.”

Both BU and MNU were undefeated in HAAC play prior to the match, but the ‘Cats earned sole possession of first place and remain the only unbeaten team in the conference.

“This is a tough conference to play in, and MidAmerica is a great opponent,” Allen said. “They are very, very skilled, very well coached and they played us extremely well. It could have gone either way.”

The ‘Cats jumped out to a 2-0 set lead, but MNU pulled away with the back-and-forth victory in the third set. However, Baker bounced back late in the fourth set after being down 23-20, earning five straight unanswered points to capture the win.

Junior Savannah Smith led Baker offensively with 12 kills, and seniors Christina Delladio and Sydney Pemberton added 11 kills apiece. Junior Jana Boss contributed 40 assists, and senior Brooke Allen led BU defensively with 20 digs.

“We’re playing to our strengths,” Kathy Allen said. “MidAmerica actually has more fire power than we do, but where we outplayed them was on defense in back court.”

BU has claimed 11 straight wins, and has not lost a match since Sept. 23.

“I’m really impressed with our team,” Brooke Allen said. “We are doing so well … and it’s just awesome because we are reaching our peak at the exact right time since it’s toward the end of the season.”

On Oct. 14-15, the Wildcats played in the Hannibal LaGrange College Tournament in Hannibal Mo. They recorded victories against Mayville State University, Stephens College, William Woods University and Hannibal LaGrange College.

Delladio had 57 kills and 20 blocks during the tournament, and was named to the all-tournament team.

The ’Cats only have two games left before entering the HAAC tournament Nov. 5.

“Going into the tournament we expect to be still ranked really high in conference, hopefully first or second,” Boss said. “All we have left are Avila (University) and Peru State (College), so if we can pull off those wins, like we have the rest of the season … we are going to be feeling really good going into the conference tournament.”

Peru State is 2-4 in conference play while Avila sits at 1-5. Baker will play Avila at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Kansas City, Mo.