SIOUX CITY, Iowa - (Box Score) The Concordia Eagles advanced to its second-straight finals match in the NAIA Volleyball National Championship presented by the CNOS Foundation. The Eagles took down Golden State Athletic Conference opponent Biola, 3-1, (25-17, 25-17, 25-27, 28-26) in the first semifinal match of the day.
In set one, Biola took an early 3-2 lead, however the Eagles of Concordia rebounded and went on a 7-1 run to take a 9-4 lead. Concordia did not let up as they defeated Biola 25-17 in set one. Concordia recorded a hitting percentage of .231.
It looked as if Concordia was going to run away with the second set as well, but after a kill by Rachel Buckley to conclude a 4-point rally, Biola was down by just two, 18-16. However, Concordia went on another 7-1 run and took the second set 25-17 and a two set to zero lead.
In the third set, Biola and Concordia started the set by trading pointsuntil it was 12-12. At this point Concordia went on an 8-2 run to take a 20-14 lead and looked to have the match in hand. However, Biola had a different idea and mounted a comeback. With kills from Chelsee Arnitz, Rachel Buckley, and Tara Rallis and aces by Crissy Cunningham and Christine Douglas, Biola battled back to a 25-25 tie, then won the set 27-25 on back-to-back blocks.
With the score tied at 6-6 in the fourth set, Biola scored the next three points to go on top 9-6. However, that lead was short-lived as Concordia answered winning the next four points. Biola and Concordia continued to match runs and trade points until a 26-26 tie, when Concordia put the set and match away by scoring the last two points to win 28-26 with a kill by Briana Hughes and then a block by Hughes and Jessica Israel.
Concordia was led by Maddy Ekis' 18 kills, Jenee Henderson's 30 assists and Kara Vincitorio's 23 digs. Key contributors for Biola were Christine Douglas with 16 kills, Amy Weststeyn with 14 kills, and Gracee Gallarda with 41 assists and 21 digs.
With the win, Concordia extends its winning streak to 37 matches and set a school record for wins. This will be the second straight year that Concordia has advanced to the championship match. In the finals at 8:00 pm (CST), Concordia will take on Columbia (Mo.), which defeated defending national champion Texas at Brownsville in the second semifinal 3-2 (22-25, 27-25, 25-16, 27-29, 15-7). Biola's season ends with a record of 31-5.
Contributions to the article from Travis Rae, NAIA Communications and Sports Information Intern