The No. 1 Concordia Eagles completed their second-straight undefeated GSAC season and earned their second-straight GSAC Championship on Saturday night, November 10, in a 3-2 win over No. 4 Biola inside CU Arena.
On Saturday, Madison Ekis led Concordia with 16 kills and 13 digs. Fei Gao had 13 winners and 10 digs, and Jessica Israel added 12 kills. Reanna Schelhaas had 10 kills and three blocks. Le Mi had nine kills and three blocks in the middle. Briana Hughes had six blocks. Jenee Henderson recorded 18 digs and 24 assists. Christine Douglas had 13 kills and Amy Weststeyn had 10 blocks for Biola. Concordia hit .174, while Biola hit .108 and won the blocking battle 18-11.
"It was a tough game, but we worked really hard to prepare," Fei Gao said. "I am really proud of the team. Everyone worked really hard and contributed."
Concordia fell down 11-7 early in the first set, but came back to tie the game at 14 with two kills from Gao. It was sideout volleyball until Concordia led 20-19, and scored five of the last seven points to finish 25-21. An Ekis ace and two Gao kills finished off Biola. Concordia hit .044 in the set, compared to .048 for Biola.
The second set was dominated from start to finish by the home Eagles. They rushed out 11-4 on kills from Gao, Ekis, and Schelhaas. With the score 18-8, Concordia finished on a 7-2 tear led by winners from Gao, Schelhaas, Ekis, Mi, and an ace from Gao to prevail 25-10. Concordia hit a scorching .469 in the set, compared to .037 for Biola.
Biola would not go quietly into the night though and the teams went back and forth through the first 12 points in the third game. Biola scored six straight to go up 18-12. Concordia fought back to pull within 23-21 on kills from Ekis and Israel, and blocks from Hughes and Schelhaas. Biola scored two of the last four to win 25-23. Concordia hit .179 on the match, while Biola hit .281.
The fourth game was back and forth through the first 13 points, until Biola grabbed a 19-16 lead. The home Eagles came right back within one at 22-21, led by two Ekis kills. Biola was strong again at the end though, winning 25-22 to force the fifth set. Concordia hit .083, compared to .257 for Biola.
The fifth set proved money for Concordia, as they won their fourth five-setter on the year. It didn't start well though, as Biola jumped out 3-0 and forced an early Concordia timeout. Head coach Dan Fisher had some wise words, and his ladies come out of the break on an 8-2 run to take an 8-5 lead to the court switch. The run featured multiple kills from Ekis and Israel, and a number of Biola errors. It went to 10-5 on back-to-back Henderson aces. Two straight Biola attack errors sealed the Concordia win, 15-8. Concordia hit .150 in the final set, compared to -.190 for Biola.
"It was a true team effort, as we are trying a lot of different lineups without Brooke (Marino)," head coach Dan Fisher said. "We are trying to figure out what our best lineup is. We have a lot of good players on this team and can win in a lot of ways."
Biola fell to 26-4 and 12-2 in conference, with their lone two conference losses coming at the hands of Concordia. The home Eagles were once again without the services of Brooke Marino, their injured senior leader. Concordia claims their second GSAC Championship in program history and second in two years. Concordia's record in the Dan Fisher era now stands at 67-2. With the win Concordia wraps up their conference season.