Surprisingly the No. 2 moment on our list was not one of the 22 championships California Baptist University collected over the course of its years in the NAIA, or one of the thrilling national tournament runs or even a hard fought conference title.
It was a regular season game, at home in the Van Dyne Gym, in the middle of February.
When CBU men’s volleyball got a shot at the No. 1-ranked BYU Cougars, the Lancers were coming off of a run of three straight NAIA National Invitational Championships and had held the top spot in the NAIA rankings for the better part of the past three seasons.
BYU had won an NCAA Division I title as recently as 2004 and had already handled the Lancers easily in a pair of early season matches in Utah en route to a 9-1 record coming into the match in Riverside.
It was a matchup of the two best programs in their respective divisions and for the first time since Chaminade toppled top-ranked Virginia in men’s basketball in 1982, the little guy would come out on top.
Even more than the buildup of the NAIA’s top team taking on the top team in the NCAA and the stunning upset performance the Lancers put on, it was the raucous crowd that made this night electric.
A crowd of nearly 1,000 fans filled the Van Dyne Gym and never let the decibel meter take a break.
An organized and intense student section created one of the most intense atmospheres ever seen in the Van Dyne Gym, even to this day, and the Lancers rode that momentum to a 3-0 (30-25, 30-23, 31-29) victory.
“This is a better feeling than the national championships have been,” said CBU opposite hitter Shamsu Awudu, following the match that night. “This win feels better than any one of those because of what a great team BYU is.”
CBU stuffed the Cougar attack 11 times in the match, controlling the tempo of the contest from start to finish. The Lancers had three players in double figures on the attack, led by Awudu with 13. Urs Gunthor was in on six of CBU’s 11 blocks and Erick Plunkett dished out 39 assists as all of CBU’s big guns came to play.
It was not the last time CBU would face a No.1-ranked squad and come out victorious, but it did set up a precedence and an expectation of success that CBU has carried with it in the subsequent years. The Lancers joined the MPSF this past season and now face established NCAA powers like BYU, UCLA, Stanford and more on a regular basis, and with every win they continue to build on that groundwork laid in 2007.
CBU and the transition to the NCAA series timeline
June 14 – Introduction to the series
June 18 – Moment No. 9 - 1999 Men's Water Polo
June 19 – Moment No. 8 - 2010 Baseball
June 20 – Moment No. 7 – 1974 Men’s Tennis
June 21 – Moment No. 6 – 2011 Women’s Golf
June 24 – Moment No. 5 – 2009 Softball
June 26 – Moment No. 3 – 2005 Women’s Volleyball
June 27 – Moment No. 2 – 2007 Men’s Volleyball
June 28 – Moment No. 1
July 1 – A comprehensive look back at more than 45 years with the NAIA
July 8 – A look back at the last three years of transition to the NCAA