Flames defeat Cardinals in women’s volleyball championship


The Flames pose with their championship trophy. Photo: Holly Diller

The Nu Alpha Phi Flames defeated the Beta Epsilon Chi Cardinals Saturday, Oct. 25, in the women’s volleyball championship.

Although it took five sets, the Flames emerged as the victors and claimed the trophy for the 2014 intramural volleyball season.

The first set was extremely close from beginning to end, with the largest margin coming when the Cardinals took a four-point lead, 16-12. The Flames then scored six straight points before the Cardinals called a timeout. After the timeout, the Cardinals outscored the Flames nine points to four, giving them the 25-22 victory.

Looking to even the match after losing the opening set, the Flames needed a win to avoid a dangerous two-game deficit. The Flames took an early 2-1 lead but trailed from there until they regained the lead at 19-18. At that point, the Cardinals took a timeout, needing a rally to stop the Flame’s scoring success. The Flames then scored six points while the Cardinals had just two, giving the second set win to the Flames and tying things up at one set apiece.

The third set started in favor of Nu Alpha, which opened up with an 8-2 scoring advantage over the Cardinals. Beta Epsilon rallied, however, scoring six consecutive points to even the score at 8-8. Both teams traded the lead for several possessions, until the Cardinals began to pull away late in the set. After finding themselves down 22-15, the Flames called a timeout, hoping to take back the set. That would not happen though, as the Cardinals went on to win the set 25-18 and claim a one-set advantage.

Although the fourth set was, like the others, a close one, it belonged to the Flames. The Flames lead from beginning to end, with the biggest lead coming at 13-6. The Cardinals did manage to come within one at 19-18, at which point the Flames called a timeout to regroup. The timeout proved to be the answer, as the Flames won set four with a score of 25-21, forcing a fifth and final set.

The Alpha Razorbacks and the Sigma Spartans, brother societies for the Cardinals and Flames respectively, had a strong showing in support of their sister societies. The battle in the stands added to the competition on the court as the cheering sections for both teams increased in volume as the night progressed and provided a means for the teams to feel the momentum.

The final set, played to 15, was up and down for both teams. Nu Alpha opened by scoring six unanswered points and capturing all the momentum. The Cardinals slowly fought their way back, trying desperately to catch the Flames. When the scoreboard read 12-7 in favor of the Flames, the Cardinals called a timeout, realizing their situation. Beta Epsilon came out of the timeout by scoring four straight points to come within one at 12-11 and recapture the momentum they had given up earlier.

The Flames then called a timeout to stop the Cardinal offensive and close out the set. The Cardinals scored the next point, tying the game at 12-12. The comeback was not to be, however, as the Flames rallied to score the last three points to win the set and thus the match as a whole.

The Flames went into the match with a record of 7-1, losing only to Classics Team B. The Flames’ Cherayah Valdez, a junior who suffered a knee injury in the semifinal game, coached Nu Alpha through the championship. Valdez added her thoughts on winning, “We had a great season and a strong team, the best Flames team I have seen in my time here at BJU. We added some amazing freshmen who can seriously kill the ball and, of course, had several returning Flames, all of whom greatly contributed to our end-of-the-season success. I am so proud of our team. We were able to give the freshmen an exciting first season and send our seniors off with a trophy. We are looking forward to next year already!”