by Ryan Sones
Whittier College was the stage last Friday night, and the plot went as planned as the University of La Verne women’s volleyball team exploded at the box office with a victory that ensured its playoff berth into the NCAA West Regionals.
La Verne sparkled in the spotlight, taking the match in a quick and painless three games, 15-2, 15-12, 15-6.
That night’s leading role went to freshman phenomenon Sarah Henry as she helped rout Whittier to the loss with 10 kills, 10 digs, six blocks and five aces.
Co-starring with Henry was a star-studded cast including setter Mercury Simonian and freshman outside hitter Gina Medina. Simonian averaged 10 assists per game and Medina had 12 kills and six digs.
“It turned out a good game for us, and we got everyone on the court,” said head coach Jim Paschal.
The victory gave La Verne an exclamation point ending their stellar 18-10 season. In SCIAC they finished 9-3, which was good enough for second place behind Cal Lutheran. The performance got La Verne’s foot in the playoff door for the first time in three years and a No. 3 ranking in the region.
Senior Denise Rice said, “We were extremely pleased and excited that we did as well as we did. Last year we really had our hopes up to go to the playoffs and missed it, so I really didn’t want to get my hopes too high. I am pretty sure we proved ourselves this year in SCIAC.”
Henry went on to add, “I am really glad we made it to the playoffs, but we need to stay focused and make sure we keep the momentum on our side of the net through every game.”
“We accomplished most of the goals we had set out to achieve except for maybe the league championship,” said assistant coach Don Flora.
“As a team we won all the matches we should of except for maybe one or two.
“We really got a lot out of the youth and the team chemistry was really good considering that nine of the girls on the roster have never played together before. We have room to get better by next year physically and technically,” Flora said.