KISSIMMEE, Fla. --- Top-seed California Baptist University made arguably its strongest showing of the week in the semifinals of the NCCAA National Tournament Saturday, defeating second-seeded Palm Beach Atlantic 3-0 to advance to the championship match.
The Lancers won 25-20, 29-27, 25-17, coming back to steal a key victory in the second game.
"The girls were ready and fresh this morning and we had a good approach to the match," said Head Coach Ryan McGuyre. "I thought we did a lot of things really well. The serving was key and because that was so good I thought we played great defense."
CBU served seven aces, five of which were from Bree Rauschenbach. With her five aces Rauschenbach now tallies 90 on the season, setting a new single-season mark for the program. She passed the previous record of 88, held by Margaret Iereneo, in the third set of the match.
It was Rauschenbach's tying ace that came in a crucial spot for CBU.
The Lancers trailed much of the second game after taking 1-0 in the match. Behind 19-13, Ingrid Carmona ripped a kill to get the serve back for CBU and Rauschenbach stepped to the line. After a Sailfish attack error, Rauschenbach fired her 88th ace of the season to force a PBA timeout.
Out of the break Carmona took over, helping CBU rattle off a 6-1 run. Carmona had a solo block and combined on a block with Jelena Dragovic, then ripped two straight kills to give the Lancers a 22-20 lead.
PBA would even the match and force extra points, but a block by Rauschenbach and Taylor Parker followed by a perfectly placed attack off the side of the Sailfish block by Carmona, would end it.
PBA never recovered as the Lancers took the final game by eight points.
"Bree did a great job setting the tone from the service line," said McGuyre. "That second game was a big one for us to get because it really hurt them. They just went five sets last night, so putting them in a hole like that was big."
CBU held the Sailfish to just a .080 hitting percentage with nine kills in the final game.
Carmona led CBU with 19 kills and Rauschenbach's five aces led all players. Rauschenbach now holds the single-season, single-match and career aces record for CBU.
Mariela Quesada had a match-high 22 kills for PBA.
The Lancers run their record to 25-10 and will play at 3 p.m. (EST) in the championship match against the winner of the Trinity Christian/Grace match.
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