The women’s volleyball team opened its season with two days packed with games in the Pacific Coast Classic.
Saturday, La Verne held its final match of the tournament in the Athletics Pavilion, losing 3-1 to Carroll from Wisconsin.
The game was an intense one, with neither team able to solidify a lead.
Although La Verne held more kills than the opposing team, with junior Pi’ikea Clemens finishing with 15 kills as well as 14 digs, they were unable to get the win, dropping to a 1-3 overall record to open the season.
Even though the Leopards were open about their early struggles of the new season, they are still very hopeful to make the playoffs this winter.
“As a team, we have a lot more to offer but we’re going to come back next time and win,” said junior libero Emma Estigoy.
But to coaches and players, they feel this weekend doesn’t accurately portray their skill level. Despite the 3-1 final score, they feel the sets were close.
The first set was full of highlight moments. During the first half of the set the Leopards were able to overcome a six point deficit to take the lead 15-14.
Erasing this six-point deficit wasn’t enough and the team was unable to rally further, therefore losing the first set, 25-22.
The next set, La Verne came out strong and lead a close game for the first half of the second set, but later in the second half Carroll was able to win the back-and-forth game, 24-23.
With the Leopards desperately needing a win to avoid being swept, they knew they had to come together as a team.
Other teams in their position might be discouraged but the Leopards were constantly cheering and supporting one another.
Heading into the third and final set, the team had a constant back and forth with Carroll but late in the third set, La Verne was able to find a rhythm.
Late in the third set La Verne would go on to win after a six-to-one run, after both teams were stalled at 20-20.
The Leopards won, 25-20, the match was then 2-1.
Heading into the fourth set was again a close game where neither team could hold a significant lead and at the end it was down to the wire. Late in the fourth set the team was able to tie the game at 21-21 but Carroll was able to close out the set 25-22, taking the match win 3-1.
“I think this weekend was a really good time to look at what we need to work on and perfect the things that we can all grow on,” freshman libero and captain Noelle Blummel said.
Team captain Madison Maynes holds herself to high standards this season with goals including winning the conference and reaching regionals. She also aims to be recognized as all-conference again.
Maynes was a stand-out player for the Leopards, leading all players with 45 assists in addition to her 15 digs, 5 kills and 4 aces.
New interim head coach Jeff Hendershot spoke about how young this current team is.
“With so many new kids this year, this whole season is about learning and figuring out our new team dynamic so that everyone works hard together.”
The Leopards travel this weekend, playing on the road in the Spike-It-Up Classic at Colorado College. Their first match-up of the weekend will be 11 a.m. Friday against Willamette.
The Leopards will start conference play Sept. 20 when they face Occidental.
Eric Esquibel can be reached email@example.com.