Volleyball team crusades in win over HAAC champs

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The Baker Orange

Junior Jana Boss jumps up for a block against two Midland University players Friday in Collins Center during the Baker Invitational Tournament. The Wildcats went 2-2 in the tournament, but went on to pull upsets Tuesday and Wednesday against Evangel University and Southwest Baptist University, respectively.

The Baker University volleyball team got its fair share of experience over the past week after playing six matches in a six-day period.

The six-day stretch was highlighted by wins against defending HAAC champion Evangel University Tuesday and NCAA Division II Southwest Baptist University Wednesday.

In Baker’s 3-1 victory over Southwest Baptist, the ’Cats took control early by winning the first two sets 25-21 and 25-18, respectively. BU fell in the third set 25-16 before closing out the match in the fourth set 25-23.

“It is really tough to come back from an emotional win like the one (against Evangel),” head coach Kathy Allen said. “We were a little bit flat, but we really picked it up and closed it out in game four and came up with a good win.”

The win against Evangel helped the team stay undefeated in conference play.

The team came up with a new game plan for its game against Evangel Tuesday in Springfield, Mo.

“I think our new game plan (worked),” Boss said. “We just all have to pull through and work together.”

The new game plan did work as the Wildcats knocked off the defending HAAC champions in five sets by scores of 18-25, 25-19, 22-25, 25-17, 15-12.

The win improved the ’Cats to 2-0 in the HAAC and in a three-way tie with Graceland University and Benedictine College for first place.

“It was absolutely huge for us,” Allen said. “The girls knew going in that even though it was (Evangel’s) first conference game and our second one, that it could potentially be for the conference championship.”

The Wildcats also played its first four home matches in the six-day stretch Friday and Saturday in the 2011 Baker Invitational Tournament at Collins Center.

The team began the tournament Friday with a 3-0 sweep of Midland University, and capped off the night with another 3-0 sweep of Oklahoma City University.

“We really showed up and played our game,” junior Jana Boss said.

Offensively, Boss had 20 assists against Midland, while senior Sydney Pemberton led the ‘Cats with eight kills.

On the defensive side, Brooke Allen led the team with nine digs.

The ‘Cats fell short on Saturday, going 0-2 for the day. In the first game versus Spring Hill College, Baker went 0-3.

Sophomore Jasmyn Turner led the team with 10 kills overall, while Boss had 25 assists. The first matches, as well as the third set, were close with a 25-23 loss and a 26-24 loss. The second set was a struggle with BU losing 25-15.

“We learned a lot this weekend,” Boss said. “We learned what we are capable of and what we need to work together on to show up to win.”

The ’Cats’ second game of the day was against John Brown University. Baker lost 3-1 after winning the first match 25-17, then falling in three straight matches 27-25, 25-23, 25-22.

“I think the main thing we took from the games this weekend was to work hard for every point,” junior Savannah Smith said.

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