Yaxley, Robinson serves up win over Whittier in four

La Verne freshman opposite hitter Kylie Cooke, tries to score against Whittier in the fourth set after the Poets won the previous set 25-23. The Leopards schooled the Poets, 3-1, Friday. / photo by Mariela Patron
La Verne freshman opposite hitter Kylie Cooke, tries to score against Whittier in the fourth set after the Poets won the previous set 25-23. The Leopards schooled the Poets, 3-1, Friday. / photo by Mariela Patron

Hal Hargrave
Staff Writer

Energy was the key for the La Verne women’s volleyball team to seal a Southern Cali­fornia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play win Friday over the Whittier Poets, 3-1, at Frantz Athletic Court.

“It’s our game plan. You cannot win a match with one person, especially against good teams,” head coach Jenna Panatier said.

The Poets came out strong in the first set and were up by six points, 18-12.

The Leopards battled back behind a kill from junior outside hitter Brittany Yaxley, sophomore middle blocker Kelsi Robinson and sophomore middle blocker Cassie Thompson, which pushed momentum back the Leopards way, winning 26-24.

“Our setting was on fire tonight and we were able to set both the middles and outside hitters,” Yaxley said.

La Verne had another slow start in the second set, but with mistakes made by Whittier, the Leopards took advantage of them and won the set, 25-17.

The momentum was lost in the third set, as the Leopards were not able to comeback from blocking and service errors, giving the Poets the win, 25-23.

“We had great energy coming into the game, and we lost that energy in the third set which is why we lost it,” Yaxley said. “It had nothing to do with our ability, or lack of execution, we had just lost our energy but we found it again in the fourth set.”

The fourth set was close, as both teams battled to get the lead.

A kill by freshman opposite hitter Kylie Cooke from a set by freshman setter Kailey Faust, gave La Verne a 17-16 lead.

From there, the Leopards remained in the lead with kills by Yaxley, Robinson and Thompson, winning, 25-20.

“We went back to the game plan that we originally had tonight,” Panatier said. “But we were able to calm down and go back to the game plan.”

Yaxley finish the match with 17 kills, four aces and eight digs.

Junior outside hitter Ashlyn Cross ended the match with 10 kills and eight digs.

“I went into the game like every other, because no matter who’s on the other side of the court, I have to do my job,” Cross said.

She leads SCIAC with .87 service aces per set, and is second in kills and kills per set.

Robinson was a big part of the fourth set, finishing the game with 12 kills, three blocks and three digs.

“We had a lot of energy tonight, and we moved our setter around to be able to set all of our hitters so everybody was able to get involved,” Robinson said. “We really worked hard tonight, and we did it together as a team.”

With service and attack errors made by the Poets, the Leopards took advantage of each opportunity.

The Leopards were also defeated by No. 2 nationally ranked Cal Lutheran Regals, 3-1, Saturday at the Gilbert Sports and Fitness Center.

Sales finished with 10 kills and Yaxley added nine more.

A convincing third set win by the Leopards kept the match alive.

A balanced attack with sharp serves and the ability to spread the ball around by sophomore setter Tiffany Mancuso and Faust, kept the Regals on their heels.

But the Regals defense was too much to handle as the Leopards lost focus.

The Leopards are 6-2 in conference play and 11-3 overall.

The Leopards will host the Leo Invitational this weekend starting at 6:30 p.m Friday against Endicott at the Frantz Athletic Court.

Hal Hargrave can be reached at hallett.hargrave@laverne.edu.

Latest Stories

Related articles

Leopards earn bid to NCAA tournament

Despite being eliminated from the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference playoff tournament, the No. 14 ranked Leopards earned an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament Monday morning, their 12th in appearance in the NCAA tournament in program history.

Leopards’ offense erupts against Kingsmen

La Verne baseball’s offense exploded with 16 hits in their 12-4 victory over the Cal Lutheran Kingsmen on Friday at Ben Hines Field. 

Water polo drops last home game

In their final home game of the season, the women’s water polo team lost, 16-6, against the Cal Lutheran Regals on Saturday afternoon at the Matt M. Axelrood Pool in Claremont.

Leopards drop midweek matchup to Regals

The Leopards fell 4-1 in a tightly contested game against the Cal Lutheran Regals in a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference matchup on Tuesday afternoon at Campus West.