Volleyball loses to Aztecs, upsets Irvine

Sophomore outside hitter Sean Douglas digs the ball out in last Tuesday night's match against San Diego State University. The Leopards won the first game 15-12 but were unable to win the match, losing the next three 15-12, 15-8 and 15-2. / photo by Heather Morales
Sophomore outside hitter Sean Douglas digs the ball out in last Tuesday night’s match against San Diego State University. The Leopards won the first game 15-12 but were unable to win the match, losing the next three 15-12, 15-8 and 15-2. / photo by Heather Morales

by Laura Czingula
Sports Editor

Being the last home game for the University of La Verne men’s volleyball team, the players were hoping for a win against San Diego State University. Unfortunately they could not pull it off and lost three out of four matches, 12-15, 15-12, 15-8, 15-2.

Starting out the first match on fire and determined for a win, the Leopards tied it up 4-4. After continuous sideouts by both teams, senior Rob Sneider finally ended the rally with a kill and a point. Sneider finished the game with 28 kills and four blocks.

The Aztecs were not going to give up that easily. They tied the score up again at 10-10 off an attempted block by freshman middle blocker Adam Black. Black finished the game with 11 kills and five blocks. Another kill by Sneider brought the Leopards up by one, 11-10.

With pressure for the Division I competitors, they seemed to struggle and had lost their momentum. La Verne took advantage of the sinking Aztecs and struck them down when sophomore outside hitter Chris Peterson aced in a serve for the winning point.

“I had a pretty consistent game, I was hitting well,” said Peterson who ended the game with 16 kills. “Our digging was there and overall we had a good first game; the chemistry was there,” he said.

“We started out real well. We were really focused and real intense,” said Sneider.

Unfortunately the chemistry had disappeared in the next three games and ULV lost all the desire to win.

During the second game there was a tie score of 8-8, but ULV just could not stop the consistency from the Aztecs.

“I was happy with game one and game two,” said head volleyball coach Don Flora. “I’m not happy with the support, as in team support. The support we give to each other is not consistent.”

Middle blocker Tom Hunter from San Diego ended the game with 20 kills and 11 blocks.

“We couldn’t stop their middle blocker and that was our game plan after game one,” said Sneider.

The 8-8 tie ended quickly in the second game when Aztec Sean Mackin tipped the ball on to ULV’s side and left the Leopards scrambling around.

La Verne started out the third and fourth games slow and once they fell behind, they just could not get over the hill that the Aztecs had built.

The hustle was still in the hearts of the Leopards though in an attempt for a win as junior setter Morgan Coberly and Sneider hustled for a wild ball that was sent over from San Diego. They saved the ball, barley getting it over the net for a side out. That was not enough though.

At one point in the last game the Leopards fell behind, 7-1. Coach Flora took a time out to get his players a little pumped up and ready, but it was no help.

ULV scored its second point when Sneider hit his last kill at home and the last point for the Leopards that night. The game ended 15-2.

“We came out on fire the first game, then the second game we just couldn’t finish, the third game we just lost energy level, and the fourth game we lost all chemistry,” said Peterson.

“Being mine and Rob’s [Sneider] last home game we started out well and that got us going,” said Flora who is resigning after the season. “We have the talent but we need to play like a team. Volleyball is the ultimate team sport,” said Flora.

On Wednesday the Leopards traveled to UC Irvine where they won three out of four matches, 4-15, 15-9, 15-12, 15-12.

“We knew what they were going to do, we had a good game plan,” said Flora. “The biggest thing was on positive energy, we played with great intensity.”

Junior middle blocker Troy Langley ended up with 16 kills and four blocks. Peterson had 20 kills and three blocks, and Black finished with 10 kills and seven blocks.

“We just caught fire and nothing was going to stop us tonight,” said Flora on Wednesday.

Flora made some changes is the second match. “Ryan [Allen], Jeremy [Collins] and Troy [Langley] came in,” said Flora. “The succession of the three players coming in gave us a lot of energy and a lot of excitement to play,” he said.

“It, [the win] allows us to go to Chicago on a very good note,” said Flora.

ULV’s next game is on March 27 against Loyola of Chicago in Chicago IL. at 7 p.m. Then on March 29 they will travel to Romeoville, IL and play Penn State and Lewis University.

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