Tuesday night the Barclay College volleyball team had Hockett Auditorium rocking with excitement. On a night where seniors RaeLyn Epp (Corn, Okla.), India Gutshall (Yuma, Colo.), Morgan Stander (Omaha, Neb.) and Kalyn Switzer (Corn, Okla.) were all honored for their contributions to both the program and to BC, the Bears hosted #4 nationally ranked Manhattan Christian College (Manhattan, Kans.). The Thunder came to town with an unblemished Midwest Christian College Conference record (6-0) this season and probably weren’t expecting a lot out of the Bears after they easily dispatched them in straight sets nearly one month ago, but this night was different. It was senior night.
It was pivotal the Bears came out of the gate quickly. They did just that. Behind the serving of Epp, the Bears were able to build a substantial lead heading into the later stages of the set, but would get stuck two points away from closing it out. The Thunder clawed their way back to squeak out the set 25-23. The Thunder seemed to role right into the second set. They scored in bunches and took the second set 25-17.
In the third set, however, the Bears turned a major corner in their whole season. Up to this point, they had only played a handful of four-set matches and no five-set matches. On this night they rode their Senior leadership and the underclassman played like veterans. With the set tight midway through, the Bears showed some serious guts. They won seven of the last nine points to take the third set 25-17. Now it was the Bears turn to capitalize on momentum and the raucous home crowd. Once again, midway through the fourth set with the match back-and-forth, the Bears finished out the set with energy and gumption. They took six out of the last eight points, including the last four, to take the set 25-18.
With the Thunder back on their heals, and the Bears oozing with confidence, the final set seemed like it was the Bears for the taking. They stormed out to an 8-5 lead and everyone was thinking upset city, but one crucial block by the Thunder changed everything. Two more blocks by the Thunder pulled them ahead as they cruised to the finish line 15-9 to win the match 3-2.
The Bears are back in action this Friday at Hockett Audtorium in Haviland. They will host a tri with Arlington Baptist (Arlington, Texas) and Faith Baptist Bible College (Ankeny, Iowa) that evening and then will travel to Manhattan to play Emmaus Bible College (Dubuque, Iowa) on Saturday late morning.