by Rosie Sinapi
Despite a promising start to the season at last week’s Mills Tournament, the Leos were unable to stop Azusa Pacific University Tuesday night.
The Leos went down in three straight games, 1-15, 2-15, and 10-15.
The match began with a Leo point, coming off of the serve of mid-blocker Michelle Runyan. This was to be the Leo’s only point in the first game.
Head Coach Jim Paschal, said going into the game, “They’re big girls, so we know it will be a hard game.”
Paschal’s premonition came true with Cougar mid-blocker Tiara Ainuu. The 5- 10 junior from American Samoa was a dominant force for the Cougars. Immediately blocking the Leos’ volley, she came back and served for APU’s first point.
The Leos’ shortcomings in the first were due to several errors. The Leos ended the match with four serving errors.
The second game was marked by the presence of Cougar outside hitter Stephanie Benitez. Benitez served for six of APU’s points.
The spikers scored only two points in the second game. One coming off of setter Tresa Tearpak’s serve. The other off a powerful spike by outside hitter Michelle Pulver.
The Leos woke up in the third set, again scoring on their first side out. The point came when Azusa Pacific outside hitter Adrianne Camacho hit the ball out of bounds giving La Verne the first point of the game.
Later Camacho answered back with four consecutive serves which were scored on. Two points were scored off of errors by La Verne outside hitter Kim Caravalho. Caravalho hit the ball into the net and another out of bounds.
On Caravalho next serve next for ULV, a hitting error out of bounds by Cougar outside hitter Trina Trejo scored the first in a series of points for La Verne. La Verne then rallied with four consecutive points coming from Tearpak’s serves, bringing the Leos to within a point, 4-5. Two serves later, a receiving error off Raelyn Tantoco’s serve would be hit out of bounds by Cougar midblocker Cheri Hacker. For the first time in the match, the Leos led the game 6-5.
That would be the turning point of the set. ULV and APU rallied back and fourth, but with the Leos committing three errors, they fell behind.
The Leos competed last weekend at the Mills College Tournament, taking two out of the five matches they played there.
La Verne beat both Menlo College, 6-15, 15-13 and 15-12, and Mills College, 12-15, 15-12 and 15-9. The three Leo losses came to UC San Diego, 4-15 and 4-15; Pomona-Pitzer, 9-15, 1-15; and Claremont College, 4-15, 15-8 and 12-15.
The Leos managed 100 kills in the two matches against Menlo and Mills.
Paschal was happy with their performance in the tournament and hopes that the Leos will continue to improve throughout the season.
This weekend the Leos travel to St. Louis to compete in the Washington University Tournament. Also competing in the tournament will be University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, St. Olaf College, Juniata College, and University of New York, Stonybrook.
La Verne’s next home match will be Saturday, Sept. 24 at 7:30 p.m. against UCSD.