No. 1 Concordia and No. 3 Biola faced off inside CU Arena on Saturday night, October 12, in the NAIA Match of the Week. For the sixth-straight time it was the Eagles of Irvine who were victorious between these rivals by a score of 3-1. That makes it 54-straight wins dating back to 2011, currently third in the NAIA record books. The Concordia Eagles sported special ASICS Pink Jerseys to support Dig Pink.
On Saturday, NAIA All-American Reanna Schelhaas was back in form after recovering from injury all season, as she collected 12 kills, hitting .611, with one error. Madison Ekis added 14 kills and Hannah Andrews had 13 kills, hitting .393, on the biggest stage the freshman has seen. Jenee Henderson was solid as usual, with 38 assists and 15 digs. Concordia won at the net, 11-8, and hit .252, compared to .176 for Biola.
"I thought we had really good energy out there tonight," Schelhaas said. "Everyone came together, everyone did their part. It felt great to be out there and play with my teammates, it was awesome."
Concordia jumped out in the first set with the first five points on two Ekis kills and one from Schelhaas. Biola fought hard and closed the gap, 9-7. A kill from Hannah Andrews and Biola error put Concordia back ahead 11-7. The Eagles held that four-point edge until Biola closed again at 17-15. The game was sideout until Biola tied it at 22. A Biola kill gave them the lead, but Andrews responded with a winner of her own. Li Mi took a feed from Henderson to put Concordia up 24-23, and a Biola error ended it 25-23.
The teams flipped the script in set two, with Concordia falling down early 12-7. Biola added two to the lead, 16-9. Concordia didn't give in, but was never able to close the gap in a set dominated by the visiting Eagles, 25-18.
The third set was more even, as both teams battled early and Concordia went ahead 10-8 on a kill from Ekis. Biola responded with five straight to take the 13-10 advantage. Back-to-back blocks courtesy of Henderson, Schelhaas, and Ekis pulled Concordia within one. Biola came right back and jumped ahead 16-12. A Biola error and kill from Schelhaas made it 16-17 Biola. A block from Mi and Jessica Israel, and Biola error, and the Eagles were back in front, 18-17. Biola did not go quietly and tied it at 20. Kills from the middle, from Mi and Hughes, put Concordia up 22-20. Mi and Ekis combined on a block and Biola committed an error and it was 24-20. Mi finished the match with a kill, 25-21.
Set four saw Concordia take an early 8-5 lead on kills from Ekis and Mi. Biola was not done by any stretch though, and tied the match at 12, then took a 13-12 lead. Concordia tied it at 15, and would not trail again. With the score knotted at 16, Schelhaas, Ekis, and Israel rattled off three straight points. Biola closed to 20-19, but it was Schelhaas again, and then a block from Israel and Mi. Biola closed to 22-21, but Mi and Andrews picked up late kills, and Briana Hughes ended the match with a block for the 25-22 win.
"Credit to our girls, they played better when we were down," Concordia head coach Trevor Johnson said. "Reanna (Schelhaas) was rock solid. She always plays well against Biola."
Concordia stayed perfect at 16-0 and 7-0 in the GSAC, while Biola picked up its first loss at 15-1 and 6-1 in conference. Concordia has won 54-straight matches and six-straight against Biola. The teams had not met since the 3-1 Concordia win in the NAIA Semifinals a year ago.
With the GSAC schedule halfway in the books, Concordia and Biola will both travel to Brownsville, TX next Friday and Saturday, October 18-19, to face No. 22 Columbia and No. 2 Texas at Brownsville.