KISSIMMEE, Florida --- A nice new blue banner will make its way back to La Mirada as Biola Volleyball won the 2017 National Christian College Athletic Association National Championship on Saturday night.
The Eagles defeated Campbellsville University (Ky.) 3-1 (25-15, 20-25, 25-17, 25-21) to earn its first NCCAA title in its first year eligible.
"These girls worked hard all year and I think they earned this," said Head Coach Aaron Seltzer. "I'm so excited. I love the seniors and what they've put into it. The team represented themselves well and had great, humble hearts."
Biola steamrolled through the first and third sets, had a minor setback in the second but nothing was stopping them in the fourth set as they had the national championship plaque in their sights.
The Eagles began set four with a 5-1 run, but then Campbellsville had a run of their own and knotted things up at eight. Things remained neck-and-neck until the Eagles rattled off eight in a row to take a commanding 19-12 lead and start counting down point until they clinched the championship.
CU made it interesting by getting back within two at 22-20, but Biola bore down and used a kill by Sabrina Winslow, block from Alli Beezer and Bekah Roth and then a kill from the senior Beezer locked everything up.
"I thought we played well all week," said Seltzer. "We had girls sick, injured and all sorts of things, but it didn't matter we just kept winning."
Biola led in kills by over 20 (59-38) and hit .228 for the match. Sabrina Winslow led all attackers with 14 kills and was joined in double-digits by Karly Dantuma (12) and Sierra Bauder (11).
Brinley Beresford was as valuable as ever in the final match of the season with 46 assists, seven kills, two blocks and two digs.
Tess Van Grouw was back to the team lead with 19 digs. She finished up the Eagles' 6-0 tournament run with 109 digs and six service aces. She finished her senior campaign with 645 digs to break her own program record set last year (612).
"We all know what she can do on the court, but I am more proud of who Tess is as a person," said Seltzer. "She leads this team on the court and off the court and was the heart and soul of the team this year. She is a quality, quality person."
Van Grouw made the all-tournament team and was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. She and Sabrina Winslow were also honored with NCCAA All-American first team honors, Karly Dantuma made the second team and Seltzer was the association's Coach of the Year.
Biola ends its season with a win to finish 28-7 overall. They will be back for their second NCAA Division II season next fall and once again have hopes of ending the year at this NCCAA Tournament.