SIOUX CITY, Iowa – Missouri Baptist won its second set of the 2012 NAIA Volleyball National Championship Tournament, but was hurt by several unforced errors as the team lost to No. 4 Biola 1-3 on Wednesday afternoon.
Missouri Baptist (34-5) started the match in a similar way that they ended yesterday. MBU trailed 2-6 early before finally shaking-off the previous match. The Spartans came back to cut the deficit to one, making it a 9-8 Biola advantage. As the match progressed, however, the Eagles began to pull away.
After going down 12-19, MBU began to recover, but it was too little, too late. Biola, led by senior Christine Douglas, finished-off the match for a 25-19 victory.
The Spartans recovered in the second set. MBU was down early, but thanks to a 3-0 run, made it a 7-8 match. They were not finished. The continued its inspired play and posted an 8-3 run to take a 12-11 lead and later extended that lead to 16-13.
The Eagles also had a run in them and it came at the right time. Biola tied the match at 16 and built it to a 20-18 advantage on the way to a 25-22 victory. MBU committed six service errors in the set, which proved the difference.
The Spartans finally broke through in the third set. The team cleaned-up its unforced errors from the previous sets and dominated much of the game. MBU took an early 4-2 lead and came on strong from that point forward. The team built a huge 14-8 lead and cruised to a 25-16 victory, its second, set win of the tournament. Through two sets, Madeline Nesbit accounted for an attack percentage of .900, which became big for her team down the stretch.
After the break, Biola made adjustments, which seemed to work immediately. After the Spartans jumped-out to a 3-0 lead, the Eagles not only tied the set at three, but built a 15-10 lead at the midway point, causing the Spartans to call a timeout.
Though MBU made a solid run at it, Biola proved to be too much in the end. The Eagles finished the match on a 25-16, fourth-set victory to go to 2-0 in Pool D.
The Eagles were led by Amy Weststeyn, who finished with 17 kills and a fantastic .517 attack percentage. Graycee Gallarda was also at the top of her game, dishing 52 assists. One of the bigger stories of the day for Biola was the achievement of an historical benchmark for Nicolette Mather. The senior right-side hitter recorded her 1,000th kill in the fourth set, giving Biola a 6-5 lead.
For Missouri Baptist, Taylor Cook was a force on the outside. The freshman set a new career-high in kills with 17 and posted a double-double on the day, adding 10 digs with a .341 attack percentage. Madeline Nesbit also had a big day as she frustrated the Biola blockers with 12 kills and a .667 attack percentage with five block assists.
As a team, MBU out-blocked the bigger Biola squad 8-6 on the day, but had 11 service errors total.
MBU will now await the result of the Lee University match vs. Lindsey Wilson to see if it will remain in contention to advance in the tournament. A Lindsey Wilson win would mean that MBU would need to beat Lindsey Wilson on Thursday and would also need a Biola win over Lee to advance to single elimination on Friday.