Biola athletes gave us a thrilling year of triumphs, upsets and memorable performances in 2009–10. To help us relive the excitement (or experience it for the first time, if you weren’t there), here are the top 10 moments in Biola athletics from the past year, as selected by Biola’s sports information office. (Click on each headline for a full recap and photos.)
10. Women’s Basketball Knocks Off No. 2 Point Loma Nazarene
Led by 24 points and 16 rebounds from junior Jessilyn Conicelli, Biola’s women’s basketball pulled off a stunning upset of No. 2 Point Loma Nazarene University 81-72 at Chase Gymnasium on Dec. 12. The loss cost the Sea Lions a share of the GSAC title and helped the Eagles eventually earn a berth in the NAIA tournament for the second-straight season.
9. Women’s Tennis Upsets No. 18 Westmont, Earns First National Ranking in a Decade
Biola’s women’s team pulled off a stunning upset, taking the final three sets of its match against No. 18 Westmont College to win 5-4. The Eagles’ victory was a major one, propelling them into the NAIA Top 25 for the first time in over a decade — a place they would remain the rest of the season.
8. Men’s Soccer Beats Azusa for Second Time to Reach GSAC Finals
Biola continued its epic 2009 season with an impressive 1-0 victory over archrival Azusa Pacific University in the GSAC semifinals as Zach Bautista scored with just 33 seconds left to give the Eagles their first-ever appearance in the GSAC championship game. The victory was the second of the season against the Cougars and marked the first back-to-back wins against APU since 1978-79.
7. Baseball’s Vinnie Fayard Hits Four Home Runs Including 10th-Inning Walk-Off
Vinnie Fayard crushed a school-record four home runs including a walk-off winner in the bottom of the 10th inning to complete an impressive come-from-behind 16-13 win over No. 2 Point Loma Nazarene. Fayard had two home runs in an eight-run eighth inning, including a go-ahead three-run shot. He then delivered a three-run, walk-off in the 10th to finish with eight RBIs.
6. Volleyball Upsets No. 3 Concordia in Irvine
Biola’s volleyball team stunned No. 3 Concordia, holding on for a thrilling victory in a matchup that has turned into quite a rivalry over the last few years. Biola’s big win eventually helped the team finish fourth in the GSAC.
After surviving a near-death experience earlier in the day, Rocky Hampton came out that evening with a career-high 32 points to lead Biola past Park University and into the NAIA quarterfinals with an 80–64 victory.
4. Men’s Soccer Reaches NAIA Quarterfinals with Yet Another Shootout Win
Biola’s men’s soccer team reached the NAIA quarterfinals with its second-straight shootout victory. The Eagles knocked out Hastings College on penalty kicks to advance to the round of eight, the furthest a team has advanced in program history. It was the team’s first appearance in the tournament in 22 years.
3. April Smith Becomes Biola’s First Swimming National Champion
Despite being in seventh place after the first half of the race, junior April Smith stormed back to win the 200-yard breaststroke at the 2010 NAIA swimming and diving championships, winning the first individual swimming title in school history.
2. Cross Country Places Second at the NAIA Championships
Biola’s women’s cross country team braved the elements to finish second overall at the 2009 NAIA cross country championships in Vancouver, Wash. It was the highest finish by a Biola team since 1987 as all five scorers placed in the top 41 and the Eagles finished just three points out of first place.
1. Miller Earns Second MVP Honor; Fifth Individual Title of the Year
Junior Natasha Miller capped one of the best seasons by a Biola athlete with her fifth individual NAIA title in 2009-10, winning the high jump and solidifying her second NAIA meet Most Valuable Performer award of the year at the NAIA outdoor track and field championships in May.