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Volleyball preps for nationals

The volleyball team added two more wins to their record on Nov. 1 and Nov. 4 to push their win streak to 13 matches. Biola swept San Diego Christian College on senior night for a total of 16 sweeps in the season so far. The Eagles then traveled to Santa Barbara, California to defeat the Warriors in four sets. Biola’s overall record currently stands at 25-4, and they sit on top of Golden State Athletic Conference standings with a record of 13-1.

The Eagles played a phenomenal match against San Diego, keeping their unforced errors under ten for each set. Biola swept the Royals in three easy sets, 25-14, 25-21 and 25-10.   Biola honored the three seniors on the team after the match — defensive specialists Jaci Schork and Charley Parker, and middle blocker Amy Weststeyn.

“For a lot of athletes, most seniors are burnt out and want to leave and are ready to move on, and they view their sport as a job, and that’s never been the case for me,” Weststeyn said. “It’s always been ‘I am so lucky I get to do this.’ I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

The Eagles went to Westmont to play against the Warriors for the final time in the season. The previous time that the Eagles went up against the Warriors, Westmont ended up taking the game to five sets. This time, the Eagles defeated Westmont in four tight sets.

“It’s one of those gyms that’s hard to play in because they get pumped at home and just something about being at their place is a whole new ball game,” Weststeyn said. “[We have to] take the great wins we had so far and not let that be something that we rely on, but something that pushes us further.”

The Eagles faced a scrappier style of play against the Warriors. Biola took the first two sets 19-25, and 27-25, but dropped the third set 25-23 after multiple errors. The Eagles recovered quickly and took the fourth and final set 25-18.

“I want us to work on playing scrappy because we play very structured, which isn't bad it's just the style of volleyball we are used to,” Parker said. “But I think learning to be versatile would only benefit us for future matches that we encounter.”

It should be smooth sailing for the rest of the regular season for Biola. The Eagles defeated every team in the upcoming matches in three sets. However, in order to secure the conference title Biola cannot underestimate any team.

“Coach has just stressed that every team is capable of having an on night and every team is capable of bringing something to the court that we are not necessarily expecting or used to,” Weststeyn said. “But with every single game we go into it really could go either way and so he’s been very intentional about every match that we walk into.”

Once regular season concludes, the Eagles will be on their way to the NAIA National tournament in Sioux City, Iowa on Dec. 2 through Dec. 6. Last year, the Eagles made it all the way to the championship match before falling in three sets to Texas Brownsville.

This season differs for the Eagles in many ways. Biola defeated both teams that they previously lost to in the national tournament. In 2012, Concordia University swept Biola in the semi-final match and in 2013, Biola turned things around and beat Concordia in five sets only to fall to Texas Brownsville in the championship match.

“It’s been built on for years and years and years and it just felt natural that and we are the better team,” Schork said. “It wasn’t like ‘we gotta play our best to beat them’ which we needed to obviously, but it was more of ‘let’s play well and show them what we can do’ mentality.”

The Eagles look to ride the momentum that has built up the past two years and take the 2014 National Championship title.

“It’s different this year,” Schork said. “Going into nationals all the teams are really competitive and ready to go and as long as we’re ready to go and confident and playing our game we can do great things.”

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