RIVERSIDE, Calif. --- California Baptist University put on a show in its final regular season match of the year, running the NAIA's No. 3-ranked Hope International Royals out of the Van Dyne Gym in three sets (25-17, 25-15, 28-26).
The Lancers put up their fifth best hitting percentage of the season (.341) and held HIU to just 36 kills on a .169 attack percentage.
"This is one of the better matches I have seen the guys play this year," said Interim Head Coach Allan Vince. "The seniors took charge tonight. They wanted it bad and you could tell by the way they played hard. We were blocking well, running our system and plays. It was just really great to see."
CBU came out swinging, hitting .600 in the opening set to take the first game in just under 20 minutes.
A four point run early in the set put the Lancers up 9-5 and CBU never looked back. The closest HIU came the rest of the game was three points at 9-6, falling by eight in the end.
Things only got worse for the Royals from there as CBU won by 10 in the second game.
CBU came somewhat back down to earth with a .385 hitting percentage on 11 kills in the second set, committing just one error in the game. HIU on the other hand committed six errors for the second straight set.
The Lancers again used an early run, going up 9-4 to take command right away.
Not ready to go home yet, the Royals put up their best fight of the night in the third game, playing even with the Lancers through 23 points.
The Royals took a 24-23 lead on a costly CBU error. Aaron McCalmont responded, saving CBU from a loss in the game with a kill off the Royal block and Jon Waber put the Lancers on the verge of a win with a kill down the center of the court.
Still not willing to go away however, HIU took a 26-25 lead and McCalmont again had to score off the visitor's block to even the game at 26-26. Freitas then gave the Lancers set point once again and this time Waber and Connor Metcalfe were there to put the Royals away, blocking Thomas Cervetti's attack for the win.
"The heart and emotion were consistent throughout the whole match, even when we were down," said Vince. "Hope came at us hard toward the end, but we had the answers and that's all heart and emotion."
Fittingly on senior night Freitas led CBU with 15 kills and Waber posted eight kills and a match-high six blocks. Garet Kreutziger scored two of his four kills down the stretch in the third and had a big solo block to complete a three point rally late in the match. All three graduating seniors were honored prior to the contest.
"Garet and Jon came out awesome, blocking balls and really taking control especially at the end," said Vince. "Daniel has been amazing this year and he especially played well tonight. His transition to outside hitter has been great and I've really seen him mature as the year went on. It was great to see all three of these guys go out with a win at home."
The Lancers move to 12-15 on the year and will finish the season at UC San Diego on April 12.
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