Rivals compete in PacWest opener, score conference win

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In their first home stand and PacWest conference opener, the women’s volleyball team at California Baptist University came in with a smash with a 3-set win over Dixie State University.

Since Dixie State is one of the top-three competitors against CBU in PacWest, the teams have formed intense competition against each other when they are playing on the court.

“We love that competition and we thrive off of competition,” said Jordyn Siko, master’s of education student and woman’s volleyball setter. “We love when players compete with us because that makes us want do so much better and want to be at a higher level. I think we really fed off of their competition and used that to our advantage.”

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The  Lancers defended their home territority in the first two sets, 25-14, 25-21, before falling in the third and fourth sets, 24-26, 24-26.

After a tough fourth set loss, both teams prepared for the final set. Branden Higa, head coach of the women’s volleyball team, said that the team was determined to play through the fifth and final set.

“They weren’t worried; they were excited about the opportunity to play a fifth set and they went out there and competed,” Higa said. “I think that says a little bit about the character
of the team. We just aren’t afraid to compete.”

Especially when the score comes to a 2-2 set tie on the fifth set of the match, being mentally focused is equally important as competing in the game.

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“Sometimes we get into our heads a little bit when teams start coming back,” said Abbie Gortsema, junior psychology major and middle blocker. “Our team word is ‘grind’ and so just grind through that rather than shut down. I think focus is huge for us this season.”

Leading the team in kills for the match were Lauren Hackett, sophomore international studies major and outside hitter for the team, and Jenna Perry, junior liberal studies major and outside hitter, with 20 and 18 kills respectively.

On the defensive side, the team led the match with 20  blocks in total, with contributions from Gortesma, Siko, and Jessica Harris, junior nutrition sciences major and middle blocker.

The Lancers finished the fifth set with a 15-11 win over the Red Storm.

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After a loss against PacWest conference rival Azuza Pacific University on the road, the team will return home and will look to improve their conference record and continue defending Van Dyne.

The Lancers will take on the Sunbirds of Fresno Pacific University  Sept. 25 and the Sea Lions of Point Loma Nazarene University Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. to defend their home court against other PacWest opponents.

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