The No. 2-ranked Concordia Eagles gave California Baptist a taste of what they have been missing these last two seasons in the GSAC on Thursday, October 18, as they downed the visiting Lancers in straight sets, 3-0 inside CU Arena.
CBU left the GSAC in the spring of 2011 to join the Pac West and become an NCAA Division II school. They entered the match receiving votes in the current NCAA DII polls.
Brooke Marino took the lead like she has in so many big games with 14 kills, 10 digs, one ace, and a .448 hitting percentage. Madison Ekis continued her strong play of late, recording 11 kills and a .231 percentage. Le Mi was a force in the middle with nine kills, three blocks, and a .467 hitting percentage. Fei Gao and Reanna Schelhaas added seven and six kills respectively. Concordia hit .275 on the night, compared to .133 for California Baptist. The Lancer's impressive size out-blocked CU 12-6. Concordia setters Elizabeth Younglove and Jenee Henderson ran the offense with 20 and 19 assists respectively.
The teams played sideout volleyball to start the game until at 7-7 when a Le Mi and Marino block, Mi kill, and a CBU error saw CU go up 10-7. The Lancers pulled within 14-11, but the Eagles responded with six straight points highlighted by four Ekis winners. With the count 20-11, CU saw fit to cruise into a 25-15 set win. The Eagles hit .295 in the game, compared to .079 for CBU.
CU wasted no time in the second set, racing to a 10-3 lead capped by two Gao kills. Kills by Marino and Mi saw the lead stretch to 19-9. A Gao kill, two CBU errors, and a Reanna Schelhaas finish saw Concordia end in a flurry 25-12. The Eagle hit .346 on the match, with CBU hitting at .000.
CBU refused to waste a trip to Irvine that quickly and turned set three into a thriller. A back-and-forth start saw Concordia take an 11-8 lead on Marino and Jessica Israel kills. CU got a bit sloppy and CBU came storming back to tie 15-15. It was sideout volleyball to 22, then Concordia took a two-point edge on a Gao kill and CBU error. The Lancers nailed a kill and blocked two straight to take a 25-24 lead and looked to extend the match. In usual Concordia fashion, after two sideouts, Marino slammed home two kills and a CBU error ended the night 28-26. CU hit .220 in the final set, while CBU hit .267.
Concordia improved to a still perfect 22-0, while Cal Baptist dropped to 15-6. The Eagles remain one of two undefeated teams in the country, with the other being No. 1 Texas at Brownsville, who will visit Irvine next week. For the time being Concordia will travel to San Diego Christian on Saturday for a 7 pm game.