The Leopards earned their third win in a row against the Caltech Beavers in a three-set sweep 3-0 on Saturday.
After an emotional home loss against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps last Tuesday, La Verne looked to start a new home wining streak.
“They have to be their best individually and as a team,” head coach Jenna Panatier said.
The Leopards looked to this matchup against the Beavers as a confidence builder.
Senior middle blocker Katelyn Winiecki said the team went into its matchup with CMS as underdogs but left with “the mentality that we can do it.”
La Verne scored the opening two points of the first set but fell behind to Caltech. Early on, both teams were trading points.
Kelsie Sievers, senior outside hitter, made a kill that tied the game at 10-10.
The Leopards went on a 4-0 run that started with a kill by freshman outside hitter Haley Celaya and ended with an attack error by the Beavers’ sophomore outside hitter Christine Yu to make the score 16-12.
An ace by Celaya gave La Verne a 19-15 lead.
The ball was kept alive during an intense back and forth between both teams; it ended with a Sievers kill for a 22-17 Leopards’ lead.
Kristen Sanchez, senior libero, was one of the reasons why the ball never hit the floor during the back and forth.
Sanchez said they had to make sure that balls did not drop.
La Verne hustled to secure the first set, 25-18, with a kill by Winiecki and an attack error by Beavers’ sophomore outside hitter and libero Isabell Yang.
Caltech opened the second set with an ace, but once La Verne got points on the board, the Leopards separated themselves. A kill by Celaya gave the Leopards a three-point lead at 8-5.
An attack error by Caltech gave La Verne a 10-6 lead. Winiecki’s two kills extended the Leopards’ lead to 14-8.
Winiecki’s kills were also part of the Leopards’ 5-0 run that was capped off by an ace by Sanchez at 17-8.
It was all La Verne for the rest of the way. Senior defensive specialist, Teagan Griffiths, scored an ace and Caltech had an attack error that gave the Leopards a big lead at 22-10.
Caltech made it an 11-point game with a kill by freshman setter Alexandra Frymire but La Verne junior outside hitter Darrah Jones and Winiecki extended the Leopards’ lead.
Winiecki’s kill gave the Leopards a 24-12 lead.
La Verne finished the set with a 25-12 win.
Looking for the sweep, Winiecki started the third set where she left off as she made a kill for La Verne’s first point.
The Leopards fell behind as the Beavers led early, but luckily the Leopards did not allow Caltech to extend their lead too far.
On an attack error by Frymire, La Verne was able to tie the game at 8-8. Caltech added two points on the board with a kill by junior outside hitter Lauren Li and an error by Leopards junior setter Emily Leung that gave them a 10-8 lead.
La Verne got themselves back in the game with an ace by Jones that gave the Leopards a 15-14 lead.
The teams were playing each other tight and neither team could create much separation.
The Leopards then went on a 4-0 run with contributions from sophomore opposite hitter Emma Estigoy, Griffiths, junior setter Madison Maynes and Jones.
Caltech senior middle blocker Sakthi Vetrivel’s error led to a late La Verne run with Estigoy having her hands in four straight plays.
Three errors on La Verne got Caltech back in the game at 20-18.
The Leopards then held onto their lead and finished with a kill by Leung to end the third set and secure the win, 25-19, in straight sets.
“We needed to stop worrying about what was going on, on their side because they were going to get it over anyway they could,” Estigoy said.
With the win, ULV sits in a three-way tie for first place in conference. La Verne continues action against Whittier at 7 p.m. Friday.
Megan Hines can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.