Volleyball team finishes 9-0 in conference play

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Volleyball team finishes 9-0 in conference play

Story by Sara

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The seniors of the Baker University volleyball team have led the ’Cats the entire season, and they did not disappoint Tuesday as the team claimed the outright Heart of America Athletic Conference Championship.

BU swept Peru State College on Senior Night by winning each set 26-24.

After falling behind 19-24 in the third set, freshman Taryn Brees served through six match points to help the team earn the comeback win.

Through each of the sets, the ‘Cats struggled to claim early leads, but the team battled back each time to complete its perfect conference season.

Senior Sydney Pemberton paced the offense with nine kills, while fellow senior Christina Delladio had nine blocks and seven kills. Senior Brooke Allen added 16 digs.

During her final season, Delladio surpassed the 1,000-career kill mark and as of Thursday was ranked fourth in the nation for total number of blocks.

“It’s always fun to watch a kid like (Delladio) who really needed a lot of work when she first came in and then seeing her senior year being fourth in the nation in blocks,” head coach Kathy Allen said.

Before the game, seven seniors were honored as they played their last home match of the regular season.

Allen said the seniors mean a lot to the program because of their leadership, desire and drive.

“You can tell just by watching them play, they have a huge impact on the team,” Allen said.

Senior Jamie Starling said the success of this season “is a once in a lifetime thing.”

“Not many kids get to have such a successful season for their very last season,” Starling said

Starling said senior night was emotional, but the team will look forward to having home-court advantage in the HAAC Tournament.

“Our first round of the conference tournament is at home on Saturday, so I don’t think it’s as big of a deal as it would be for some of the seniors in the past,” Starling said.

Senior Kelsey Cobb said playing in Collins Center during the tournament will help the ‘Cats performance.

“It’s always comfortable and exciting playing here at home,” Cobb said. “Knowing that you have the support of your school and fans always seems to add a lot of adrenaline to each player’s game.”

Baker will go into the conference tournament with a 13-game winning streak and as the only team undefeated in HAAC play.

BU will play its first-round match of the tournament against Avila University at 7 p.m. Saturday in Collins Center.