Nov 20, 2019

Bruins' Rollercoaster Season Ends With Promise For 2020 And Beyond

A Winning Tradition

 
  • 2 NCCAA National Championships (1984, 1987)
  • 1 NAIA National Tournament (1998)
  • 1 Women's Conference of Independent Colleges Championship (1982)
  • 1 Northwest Conference Championship (1998)
  • 2 NCCAA National Coaches of the Year
  • 2 NAIA District Coaches of the Year
  • 2 Northwest Conference Player of the Year
  • 2 Northwest Conference Coaches of the Year
  • 1 Northwest Confernce Libero of the Year
  • 13 All-Americans 
  • 5 Academic All-Americans
  • 50 All-NWC Athletes

NEWBERG --- The George Fox volleyball team wrapped up its 2019 campaign with a great closing stretch to build momentum for a growing young team under fourth-year coach Emily Davis.

George Fox started its season with a trip to Panama to serve others and grow together as individuals. The Bruins worked with Score International, a Christian organization that works to help athletic teams put together short-term mission trips. While in Panama City, the team put on sport clinics, fed the homeless, and visited local schools in the area as part of their team service.

The Bruins got out to a hot start after their mission trip with two wins on their opening day before injuries derailed the team's positive inertia and started a six-game losing skid. Several of those losses came to top-ranked teams at the Augsburg College (Minn.) Invite, but the Bruins' struggles continued through the early stretch of conference play.

With losses to Pacific (Ore.), Pacific Lutheran, Willamette, Lewis & Clark, and Puget Sound piling up, the Bruins found themselves staring at a 4-11 overall record and a 1-5 mark against Northwest Conference opponents at the midpoint of the season.

The Bruins' coaching staff made the decision to add a new player to the roster while simultaneously shifting its offensive system. The results were immediate and sustained through the rest of the season, as the Bruins closed out the first half of conference with road wins over Whitworth – the eventual NWC champ – and Whitman before ripping through the second half of NWC play on a 9-1 tear.

The Bruins ended the year by defeating each NWC team at least once while sweeping the season series against Linfield and Whitman. The Bruins were one of two NWC teams to defeat Whitworth and were the only team to do so in the Pirates' home gym.

After winning their way through the second half of conference with an eight-match winning streak, the Pirates were able to avenge their loss with a five-set win in Newberg, but the Bruins bounced back the following night with a sweep of Whitman to close the season.

"It was such a crazy year between preseason injuries and then our eight-match winning streak," Coach Davis said of the up-and-down season. "I am so proud of our team for working hard to make changes, and above all making sure we see volleyball as an opportunity to point others to the love of Christ. I am already excited for next season! We hope to continue building on our success."

The night-and-day flip through the second half of the season proved to be enough for the NWC coaches to award Davis as the 2019 NWC Coach of the Year. Sophia Lawrence was tagged as a First Team All-NWC player and the NWC Libero of the Year after leading the NWC in digs per set all season, and both Laney Search and Bailey LeBreton were honored as All-NWC athletes for their play.

Search was also recognized by College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) as an Academic All-District player for her work on the court and in the classroom. The CoSIDA Academic All-American and All-District awards are given to players that perform at a high level athletically and academically, and Search's 658 assists, coupled with a near-perfect GPA as a biology major, were enough to garner the honor for her 2019 season.

The Bruins bid farewell to their lone senior from the 2019 class – Emily Carson – but their starting lineup that won nine of its last ten will return next fall and should be competitive from the jump in Coach Davis' fifth season at the controls.