Leopards claw their way to wins

Senior middle blocker Catie Logan smashes the ball over the net for a kill in the third set of Saturday’s match against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Saturday was the volleyball team’s senior night. After each senior was recognized by program announcers, the Leopards took the court against the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athenas. The Leopards mauled the Athenas, 3-0. This win boosted the Leopards into No. 25 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Division III poll, the first time the volleyball team has been ranked since the 2009 season. The Leopards also swept the Whittier Poets in three sets earlier that day. / photo by Hunter Cole

Danielle Hunt
Staff Writer

The Leopards swept back-to-back games Saturday; first against Whittier in three sets and then Saturday night swept Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in three sets for Senior Night.

This past weekend capped off the final games of the regular season for the volleyball team.

Senior Night highlighted the four seniors for ULV; Catie Logan, Randi Taylor-Toomay, Kayla Cribbs and Kendall Kraiss, before the game with a summary of their contributions to the legacy of La Verne volleyball.

“Tonight is a night I am going to remember for a long time,” Cribbs said. “I really relied on my fellow seniors to get me through tonight and all the emotions to get the win for tonight’s game.”

The Leopards swept CMS in three games with the scores of 28-26, 25-17 and 25-19.

The Leopards led the first match, 16-11, but CMS tried making a small comeback with four consecutive points to get within a single point at 16-15.

The CMS rally was stopped by Taylor-Toomay’s kill, but then it was a back-and-forth game and CMS came back with vengeance and went up 25-24.

Taylor-Toomay came back again and responded with a kill to tie the game and the Leopards capitalized on a CMS error and freshman Brittany Yaxley made the kill to win the set, 28-26.

“The momentum we had in the first game really helped us carry through for the next two games and with the help of my teammates we were able to sail to a fairly easy victory,” Logan said.

The Leopards led throughout the entire second set, starting the game off with an 8-3 lead over CMS and they were able to maintain their lead throughout the set with leads of 15-7 and 20-13. The set was final with a kill from Destinee Sales for a 25-17 set victory.

The third set once again proved that the Leopards had great momentum taking an early lead of 11-7 yet the Athenas did not go out without a fight bringing the score close to 12-11.

ULV welcomed the pressure and responded with a 6-0 run to go up 18-11 and from that point on the Leopards closed out the match on back-to-back kills from Kraiss to give the Leopards a three set victory with 25-16.

“There was a lot of emotions going through my head before, during and after the game but I know that we had to finish our last home game with a win and I couldn’t have asked for a better senior night,” Kraiss said.

Both sweeps extend the Leopards win streak to four and in all four of those wins the Leopards have swept their opponents.

With the victory over CMS the Leopards secured the No. 3 seed for the SCIAC postseason tournament and face Chapman in the semifinal round Thursday night. Results were not available by press time.

La Verne also made the top 25 for the first time in three seasons in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll. All four of the Leopards losses this season have come from teams ranked in the AVCA.

“Now that the regular season is over we are taking it one day at a time and as a team we are going all out and not stopping until we get what we set our minds on back in July, said Logan.” It’s now or never.”

Danielle Hunt can be reached at danielle.hunt@laverne.edu.

Hunter Cole

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