The Bryan Lions gave the Indiana Wesleyan Wildcats a competitive match in the NAIA National Championship, but were ultimately beaten in three sets: 25-22, 25-22, and 25-21. "I am very proud of this team," commented Bryan coach David Shumaker. "We played point for point with our opponents today. Sadly, we just couldn't finish the longer rallies the way Indiana Wesleyan did. IWU deserves credit; they were the better team today."
This was the first time Bryan College has ever hosted a National Championship Opening Round match for volleyball. The Bryan College community responded well by packing out the stands in support of their team. "I think we had a record crowd today," said Shumaker. "Our home fans were unbelievable. We have never seen a turnout like this before. Even though we were unable to pull off the upset, I think we gave our fans a lot to cheer about—and a great reason to come back next season and cheer us on in the same manner."
Offensively, Carolyn Evans led the team in both kills and kill percentage, tallying 10 kills while hitting .453. Freshman Kara Stamper tallied 9 kills and hit .348. Shumaker was pleased with the team's offensive performance. "We had a very balanced offensive attack today. We had 5 players with 6 or more kills, and 4 out of the 5 attackers hit over .333 on the day." Setter Taylor Fink recorded 37assists on the day for an average of 12.33 assists per set. Defensively, the team was led by Corrie Walker (11 digs), Taylor Fink (11 Digs), Rebecca STroup (Adams) (10 digs), and Madison Akins (9 digs).
In this, their second appearance in the NAIA National Championship Opening Round, the Lions definitely competed better than last year. "Last year we were never really in the match against Indiana East; this year, we battled point for point with Indiana Wesleyan." Shumaker has high hopes for next season, "We'll be back. We will learn our lessons from this season and build, just like we did last year."
Coach Shumaker had appreciative words for his graduating seniors: "This is a special group of seniors. They have led this team well—both on the court and off. I will always remember them for their character and on-court contributions to our program. They can each take great satisfaction in how they have helped this program grow into a nationally recognized NAIA program."