After suffering a tough loss to No. 6 nationally ranked Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, the Leopards got back in the win column with a beatdown on Redlands, sweeping them 3-0.
“We learned some things about ourselves that we get better at and we started working on them and tonight it was about, ‘Hey let’s play clean, let’s play our game and go from there,’” head coach Jeff Hendershot said.
Freshman setter Malia Capistrano got the party started with back-to-back aces to give the Leopards a 2-0 lead in the first set. The Leopards stumbled after that and found themselves tied 7-7, only to explode for 12 unanswered points to jump to a 19-7 lead.
The Leopards cruised to a 25-11 set victory where only five of the Bulldogs’ points were their own doing, meaning that six of those 11 points were errors committed by the Leopards.
Set two was more dominant from the Leopards as they went on to have three streaks of over five straight points throughout the set. The first streak was five points long to give the Leopards a 7-2 lead, then a whopping eight point streak to put them up 15-4 and finally a six point streak to bring the score to 22-6.
That six-point streak featured three kills from graduate student middle back and right side hitter Ayana Mier, two kills from sophomore outside and right side hitter Mya Ray and a kill by freshman outside hitter Lauren Gott.
An attack error by the Bulldogs sealed the deal in set two with a final score of 25-8. The Bulldogs were never able to get into a rhythm in this set and only scored back-to-back points just once.
The final set looked to be another blowout with the Leopards continuing to pour it on the Bulldogs and took a crushing 17-5 lead. The Bulldogs finally gained their stride and scored five unanswered points to bring the score to 20-12, but it was too little, too late.
Senior outside hitter Noelani Soma put a bow on a dominant performance by the Leopards with a kill to end the set 25-14 and complete the sweep of the Bulldogs.
This was exactly the type of response that the Leopards were looking for after a tough 3-0 loss to Claremont on Tuesday.
“We definitely brought our energy up, and not totally forget about it, but just move past it knowing that we’re going to do better next time,” Ray said.
Much like the rest of the season, the Leopards underclassmen were key contributors in the win, with Ray finishing with 15 kills and nine digs, Gott finishing with nine kills, seven digs and a block, and Capistrano finishing with three aces and 14 digs.
“I’m super pumped for them, because they still have so much room to grow and it’s just so exciting to see all their potential and to see that they’re doing so well now,” Miers said. “I just can’t wait to see what they do when they are seniors.”
This immediate success from the young core makes the future of La Verne volleyball that much brighter.
“It is super exciting to look forward, I’m sure Jeff (Hendershot) will bring in new players next year too that I’m super excited about and I think it will be a good next four years,” Capistrano said.
The following day, the Leopards went to Pomona-Pitzer and lost, 3-1.
The Leopards will travel to Caltech on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. game against the Beavers and then will take on Chapman at home at 7 p.m. Oct. 20.
The Leopards are now 15-2 overall and 6-2 in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.
Jack Janes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jack Janes, a senior journalism major, is sports editor of the Campus Times and a staff writer for La Verne Magazine. He is also a staff photographer for both publications. He previously served as a Campus Times staff writer.