Spikers overpower No. 2 Chapman

Sophomore middleblocker Sarah Henry powers down one of her 19 kills against UC San Diego last Saturday night. La Verne lost the match to the Tritons in four games, 15-17, 15-6, 7-15, 8-15. The Leopards have a 14-10 overall record. / photo by Ryan Sones
Sophomore middleblocker Sarah Henry powers down one of her 19 kills against UC San Diego last Saturday night. La Verne lost the match to the Tritons in four games, 15-17, 15-6, 7-15, 8-15. The Leopards have a 14-10 overall record. / photo by Ryan Sones

by J.R. Gonsalves
Staff Writer

The University of La Verne women’s volleyball team traveled to Chapman on Friday and came home with a huge 15-8, 6-15, 8-15, 15-8 and 15-10 win.

“It was a pretty good comeback,” said head coach Jim Paschal. “We were down and won the match pretty handily.”

The Leopards were down in the match 2-1 and in game five were losing 3-0. In rally scoring a three point lead is a large lead, however the Leopards over came the pressure and took the match.

“We picked up our intensity level and we came out of our time outs strong,” said sophomore middle blocker Sarah Henry, who was tied with Chapman’s Monica Girard for the match high in kills with 19. Henry also had a .351 hitting percentage to go along with her two solo blocks.

The Leopards had to have the win if they wanted to move up in the NCAA Western Region rankings. After Friday’s match, La Verne moved from No. 3 to No. 2. The jump in the standing will help the Leopards positioning in the playoffs.

The Leopards’ next match was against the No. 1 Tritons of UC San Diego on Nov. 1. This was a match that La Verne could not begin sluggishly. The Leopards started off strong in every game, but ended up losing in four games, 17-15, 6-15, 15-7 and 15-8.

“This team had 12 good players,” said Paschal, who has coached the Leopards to a 14-10 record this season.

La Verne was not hurt in the standings by the loss to UCSD, but the Leopards are likely to see the Tritons in the playoffs. This loss will effect the Leopards confidence heading into the next meeting with UC San Diego.

“We have made significant progress since we played them last,” said assistant coach Don Flora.

The Leopards came out strong in every game, and in game one, they were primed to win, but the Tritons finished strong and knocked off the Leopards.

In game two, the Leopards started off strong again, but this time they continued pressing throughout the entire game and crushed UCSD, 15-6.

Games one and two were strong signs for the Leopards to take the match, but UC San Diego was too much for La Verne to handle down the stretch.

“I think we played well, but we let a few big leads go to waist,” said sophomore middleblocker Allison Moore, who had eight kills and 12 digs in the match.

La Verne did outblock San Diego 5-2. Neither of the two teams hitting percentages were good, but UC San Diego won the battle of percentages, .211 to .169.

“I think that we may have been a little tired,” said senior setter Mercury Simonian, who had 29 assists and 10 digs.

The Leopards continued their season at Whittier on Tuesday night against a team the Leopards have handled in recent matches.

The Poets did not have the talent that the Leopards had and it showed throughout the match as La Verne beat them in straight sets, 15-11, 15-5 and 15-7.

“A characteristic of a good team is that they play well against any level of team,” said Paschal.

La Verne beat Whittier in every aspect of the game. La Verne had 48 kills to Whittier’s 27 and 12 blocks to 11. La Verne also dominated the game from the service line with nine aces to Whittier’s four.

“We were always in control,” said Paschal.

The Leopards were never down in any of the three games of the match. Henry had a .429 hitting percentage which led the match and she also contributed with 12 kills which was also a match high.

“We heard that they beat Claremont and Pomona, two teams that had beaten us, so we didn’t know what to expect out of them,” said Henry who helped the serving game of the leopards with two service aces.

“They have a slow tempo game and we were able to win with our style of game, which is a faster tempo,” said Moore who was second to Henry in hitting percentage at .400. She also had nine kills and eight digs.

La Verne’s next match is tonight against Occidental at 7:30.

J.R. Gonsalves
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Ryan Sones
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