After a grueling road trip south, the Bears volleyball team was back home this past weekend for two Midwest Christian College Conference games. They hosted Calvary Bible College (Belton, Mo.) on Friday evening and Ozark Christian College (Joplin, Mo.) on Saturday afternoon. Early in September the Bears were able to beat Calvary in straight sets, but suffered a defeat to Ozark on their home court.
Equipped with a new line up, the Bears took the floor a little unsure how the changes might transfer. It didn’t take long to see that the Bears were going to thrive under the new rotation. The team switched from a 6-2 to a 5-1 in attempts to stack their defenses with more passing power in the back row. With strong passing coming from the back, the Bear’s offense, behind middle hitters freshmen Alyssa Swonger (Pratt, Kans.) and Carly Barron (Aiken, S.C.), took off and never looked back. By keeping the Warriors on the defense the entire match, the Bears were able to beat them a second time this season in three straight sets. It was an overall outstanding performance from everyone on the court.
Following a strong win on Friday night, the Bears hosted Ozark Christian College on Saturday afternoon. The previous match between these two teams found the Bears only playing well one of the sets. With these memories still fresh, the Bears knew what kind of mental and physical effort it would take to pull off the upset. Similar to the first time the two teams met, the Bears gave the Ambassadors all they wanted plus some in the opening set. They pushed them to the bitter end, but fell just a little short 24-26. In the second set, the Ambassadors acted as if they were going to pull away early on, when the Bears started chipping away at the lead. They once again made a set out of it only to fall just short again, 23-25. The third was full of plenty of drama and excitement. A bad call in favor of the Ambassadors motivated a serious Bears’ rally. The Bears even had a set point, but lost the final three points to drop the third and final set 24-26. The fans at Hockett Auditorium where not disappointed with three sets of hard fought volleying and competitiveness.
Swonger led the offensive attack on Saturday with a game high 14 kills, while freshman Kaylie Fruh (Placentia, Calif.) chipped in five kills herself. Defensively the Bears were led by defensive specialist senior RaeLyn Epp (Corn, Okla.) with 18 digs.
The weekend split moved the Bears to 4-3 in MCCC play with only three conference matches left in the season. The Bears head to Moore, Okla. to take on Hillsdale Free Will Baptist and NAIA Mid-American Christian (Oklahoma City) on Tuesday.