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After dropping the first two games of the Trinity Classic on Friday, La Verne volleyball beat Schreiner and Texas-Dallas on Saturday to finish 2-2 for the tournament and extended their winning streak to three games as they beat No. 15 Cal Lutheran on the road.
Senior libero Kristen Sanchez had 75 digs over the weekend to move into third place on La Verne’s all-time kill list at 1,545.
“Those matches show our weaknesses so we can touch them up in practice,” Sanchez said. “They also show our strengths that we can emphasize in games.”
With 20 scheduled games and the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Tournament left, Sanchez has a chance to move into second and challenge the record holder Chelsea Sleight’s 1,998, set in 2010.
In game one against Schreiner, La Verne came out and built an early lead, 11-7.
After three straight points by Schreiner to close the gap to 12-10, the Leopards went on a 6-0 run with three of those kills coming from senior outside hitter Kelsie Sievers.
Schreiner could not close the gap and lost the first set as freshman outside hitter Hayley Celaya ended it on a kill set up by junior setter Madison Maynes.
Once La Verne took the first set, they rolled in the next two sets. The second set was much like the first, the Leos built a lead to start and never relinquished control of the set winning it 24-14.
The third set was truly dominant, La Verne scored 13 points before Schreiner got their first. La Verne held them to only five points in the set, while having a hitting percentage of .733.
The Leopards took the set and the match on a service error and got their first win of the tournament. In game two, La Verne took on the Texas-Dallas Comets.
Neither team was able to separate themselves and the game was tied 17-17. It stayed close all the way throughout the set, but the Comets were able to hold on and take it 25-22.
La Verne came out in the second set and took control early. The Leopards were in attack mode and really hit the ball well.
The set was close at 18-14, but the Leopards took hold of the set and went on a 7-1 run to take it and tie the game at 1-1.
The third and fourth sets were both closely contested by Texas-Dallas but La Verne held on to win. The Leopards won the third set 27-25 and the fourth set 25-22 to pull themselves to 2-2 for the tournament.
“Playing tough teams in the preseason has been so beneficial for our team,” Sanchez said.”It is great to see our team challenged early on and set up that fighting mentality.”
Sanchez finished the game with a season-high 31 digs and Maynes added 45 assist.
On Wednesday, La Verne traveled to face No. 15 Cal Lutheran. In the early going, the Leopards did not hit the ball well in the first two sets and quickly found themselves in a hole, trailing 2-0.
“Down two sets, we were frustrated,” Sanchez said. “We knew we had so much more to give.”
La Verne would win the next two sets to force a deciding fifth set. In the final frame, The Leopards hit the ball very well, posting a .346. After the set was tied at 2-2, the Leopards would never trail again and took the match 3-2.
It was the Leopards’ second victory over a ranked opponent this season and their first conference win.
Sanchez said head coach Jenna Panatier and the staff were happy with the way the team was able to come back and execute the game plan they laid out.
“Being able to win a road game after being down says a lot about us,” Sanchez said. “It shows we can overcome obstacles and come up with a W.”
Mark Acosta can be reached at email@example.com.