Cal Baptist Secures NAIA Title Bout With Win Over Cardinal Stritch


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Parkville, Mo. - There's no place like home and while California Baptist is over a 1,000 miles from Riverside, Calif., the championship game of NAIA Men's Volleyball National Invitational feels like home for the Lancers.

Led by Donald Baliaba and Adiel Tiedjop, who combined for 32 kills, the Lancers (15-11) move into their fifth straight title game after defeating No. 3 Cardinal Stritch 3-0 (30-21, 30-25, 30-19).

"It was great to win in three and we needed to do that," said CBU head coach Ryan McGuyre. "We were nice and fresh tonight. Our serves have been coming around and we have some great guys on the floor."

Tiedjop ripped a match-high 17 kills while Baliaba added 15 as both Lancers hit over .300. Baliaba also just missed a double-double with eight digs. Corey Spence just missed double figures in digs with nine. Eric Plunkett dished out a match-high 42 assists while Blair Penner led the Lancers in blocks with five. Yukai Sun also provided some offense off the bench with six kills.

"I was pleased with the effort tonight and the camaraderie on the team has really kept us going," said McGuyre. "I think our bench pushed us through the match last night and tonight. They kept us alive several times in the match. We did a great job siding out tonight. We just needed to play a little defense to pull away from them."

In the opener, the Lancers ripped a .394 clip (15-2-33) as Baliaba and Tiedjop combined for 11 kills. CBU traded four leads early in the game and took control after Baliaba broke the 11th and final tie of the game, at 12-12, with a kill. Vetter and Rich Parris closed out the game as Vetter ripped his second kill of the match and Parris served up an aced to give the Lancers a 1-0 match lead.

Tiedjop ripped seven kills and Penner posted a pair of blocks in game two as the Lancers held the Wolves to a .167 clip. Later in the game the Lancers led 17-13 after a Tiedjop kill, but Cardinal Stritch used a 4-0 run to tie it at 17. The Lancers retook the lead after a Tiedjop kill and held that lead until the Wolves tied the game at 25. CBU responded scoring the next five points including a kill by Baliaba to close out the game.

In the final game, the Lancers had no problem pulling away with the win. CBU outscored Cardinal Stritch 15-7 down the stretch to seal the win.

The Lancers outhit the Wolves .320-.120 and posted eight blocks to Cardinal Stritch's six.

California Baptist will now play Park in the championship game, Saturday, at 7 p.m. inside the Breckon Sports Center. Last year it was the Lancers who defeated Park 3-0 in the title game inside Van Dyne Gym. For Park it will be the second straight title appearance and third appearance overall in the title game and it will be the eighth appearance overall for the Lancers.

"Hopefully it turns into a slugfest tomorrow," said McGuyre. "The things that are the most challenging are also the most rewarding. This will definitely be the most difficult final that we have faced since I've been here and that makes it fun. This is the time when you get to see the underclassmen step up and battle and see the best effort from everyone. This will be a battle tomorrow."

Article courtesy of NAIA media relations.

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