In an electrifying five-set match, the women’s volleyball team defeated Occidental, the No. 2 team in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, ending the game with a score of 3-2.
The Leopards and the Tigers played fiercely throughout the entire game, but it was the Tigers who secured the first match, ending the set with a score to 26-28.
This did not damper the Leopards’ morale, as they came back with a spectacular performance in the second set.
After 16 hard hitting spikes, and some impressive digs, the Leopards earned their first set of the night with a score of 25-22.
“One of our biggest concerns were to take care of our side of the court by minimizing our errors,” senior defense specialist Chelsea Sleight said.
The Tigers did not go down without a fight in the third set as they made a valiant effort to out hit the Leopards.
It was a combination of Occidental’s constant attack errors and inability to stop Leopard freshman middle blocker Danielle Maxwell’s killer spikes that led to another Leopard victory.
Leopards finished the set with a score of 25-17.
“Our girls played very tough tonight, which dictated the entire flow of the game,” head coach Marlon Sano said.
The Leopards’ two set victory did not intimidate the Tigers as they came back more determined to tie the game up.
A heated debate broke out in the fourth set as a bad call was made against the Leopards, resulting in a yellow card given to Sano.
“I tell my girls, let the coaches handle the referees’ bad calls, you just play your game,” Sano said, and the Leopards did.
With Occidental’s ability to effectively execute their plays, and capitalize off of a couple of La Verne’s free balls, they were able to win the fourth set with a score of 22-25.
“We got complacent in the fourth set, and Occidental came back hard, they showed us they weren’t going down without a fight tonight,” Sleight said.
The fifth and final set of the night proved to be a success for the Leopards as they pulled out of the match with a score of 15-11.
“The best part of the entire game was in the last five points of the fifth set; we all pulled it together because we knew how big of a win this could be for us,” sophomore middle blocker Catie Logan said.
With La Verne winning three out of four of its matches this past weekend, they have a good chance at making it to the SCIAC post-season tournament.
“This was a critical match, we set ourselves up to make a huge jump from sixth to third within the SCIAC league, as long as we finish out the season strong, we could possibly receive a bid from the NCAA,” said Sano.
La Verne will play their final regular season match of the season at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at the Frantz Athletic Center against Caltech on senior night, where Laura Gil, Nicole Wandler, Colleen Moreno, Anna Calmer and Sleight will be honored.
Christopher Barnes-Baxter can be reached at email@example.com.