by Laura Czingula
Playing four matches in one week is hard enough, but winning three out of the four games is what the University of La Verne women’s volleyball team did last week, defeating Occidental, Pomona-Pitzer, and Claremont, but falling to Cal Lutheran who is 9-0.
Over the course of the week, the Leopards moved their record to 15-9 overall and 7-3 in SCIAC.
Match one Tuesday night against Claremont went quickly while La Verne demolished the Athenas 15-7, 9-15, 15-7, 15-10.
“We played fairly well in the first game,” said head coach Jim Paschal. “But I don’t think we totally stayed focused throughout the second game.”
Claremont was ready to play for the second game against ULV. Right away they came out on top and they were up 10-3 before any one knew it.
“We didn’t seem very excited to play,” said Paschal. “We didn’t pass the ball well in the second game. I think last week effected us and we haven’t quite recovered from it yet.”
Claremont had three aces in the second game. Though ULV came out of its slump for the match and scored nine points they just couldn’t catch up with the Athenas. The score ended 15-9.
The third game started out with a tough hit down the middle of the court by freshman opposite hitter Sarah Henry and a 1-0 lead for La Verne.
A block by junior outside hitter Jill Seaton and senior middle blocker Denise Rice gave the Leopards to a 9-4 lead.
Seconds later another ball was killed by freshman outside hitter Gina Medina
La Verne took advantage of Claremont’s mistakes and ended up winning the third game 15-7.
“We began to pick it up a little bit in the third game,” said Paschal. “If you don’t pass well you get frustrated and we started passing better in the last two games.”
The last game for the two teams took a long time to end. Both teams were determined to fight each other for the win. A series of side outs went on until finally Henry blocked a ball for the 14th point, and then Claremont dug a ball that went out into the crowd and La Verne won, 15-10.
“Sarah Henry played well in the third and fourth game,” said Paschal. “The turnaround began for us when Celena Bliss, (freshman outside hitter,) and Kim Bell, (freshman outside hitter,) went into the game and picked up the emotion on the court. They got us back into the game.”
Last Friday night the team defeated Pomona-Pitzer quickly in three games, 15-11, 15-9, 15-2, avenging an earlier loss.
“I expected more of a battle against Pomona,” said assistant coach Don Flora. “Our intensity level was very high and we were fired up for this game.”
During the first game the Leopards were down 10-6 at one point. They did not let up though, coming back and winning the game with the help of Medina.
“We needed this win,” said Medina. “I put my full force into the game, because I knew we could win.”
Medina served up a storm in the first game with four aces.
“This was the best game [Pomona-Pitzer] we have played all year, it was so fun, we were all ecstatic,” Medina said.
During the last game, ULV clobbered the Sagehens. With two wins under their belts they knew they had to bury them.
Right from the beginning, Henry thrashed the ball to the corner of the court making the score, 1-0, ULV.
A La Verne mistake led the Sagehens to a side out and their one point out of two for the whole game.
An intense block by Seaton and Rice got the crowd excited and gave La Verne it’s sixth point.
Pomona took a time out which was really no help for them, when Seaton came out from the time out, she slammed the ball to the Sagehens side, 7-1.
Another point for La Verne was earned when Pomona-Pitzer could not dig a ball and it flew out of bounds.
Pomona-Pitzer’s only other point was when ULV hit the ball into the antenna on the net.
“We stepped up with total ball control,” said Flora. “When we are passing and are using ball control we are good, we are very good.”
Pomona had chances to get back into the game but ULV’s defense would not let them.
The third game ended with a misjudgment by Pomona and La Verne with the win.
Pomona-Pitzer was third in the region. The last time ULV and Pomona met up with each other, ULV crumbled them in the fifth game.
“We wanted to win so bad since we lost to them before and we did, it was great,” said Medina.
As for Saturday’s match against Cal Lu it was a different story.
Cal Lu defeated ULV 15-10, 15-8, 15-8. Though Medina had three aces and 12 kills, Seaton with three aces also and 10 kills, La Verne just could not overcome Cal Lu’s power.
“When we played Cal Lu before we didn’t know what to expect, and we played really well,” said sophomore outside hitter Lynsey Best. “This time around we tried to make adjustments against them but they played a lot better than before. We seem to play flat on back to back games.”
“We were flat against Cal Lu,” said Paschal. “Maybe we put too much pressure on them for that game.”
The women’s next match is today at home, at 7:30 p.m. against the University of Redlands Bulldogs.