As of Tuesday, the Leopard volleyball team holds a current stance of 4-2 in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, and last Saturday they defeated the Redlands Bulldogs in a hard-hitting three-set sweep, 25-23, 25-16 and 25-17.
After a tough 3-1 loss the previous night against the Cal Lutheran Regals, the women were able to put it aside and not let it negatively impact their match against Redlands.
“They’re doing great,” head coach Jenna Panatier said. “We can’t dwell in the past. We need to take each team on individually.”
The Leopards opened the first set of the match with an impressive lead of 16-6, but demonstrated that they may have gotten too comfortable too quickly as the Bulldogs proved that they were not going to hand it to them easy.
The Bulldogs were able to place themselves back into the game only down four points at 20-16. The once calm audience was then on the edge of their seats and became anxious as the Leopards started to make many small errors.
“We died down and need to work on keeping the energy,” freshman defensive specialist Anna Suarez said.
Although it was a sloppy finish, the Leopards captured the win, ending the first set 25-23.
Suarez contributed majorly to the win playing an impressive game as libero for the Leopards.
She held it down defensively and picked up the most digs during the match, totaling at 13.
Unfortunately the second set was not much different. The Leopards started off the set down five points at 6-1.
Junior setter Kendall Kraiss made some smart plays at the net to gain back possession of the ball, but the girls had a hard time keeping it on their side.
The women were able to take back control of the lead but still continued to make errors at the net and serve balls out that held them back from generating a groove.
The Bulldogs’ high energy and strong determination allowed them to tie the match at 11-11, however the Leopards took quick notice and worked well under pressure.
“We never gave up,” junior middle blocker Catie Logan said. “We really had to come together and regroup.”
Although the Leopards quickly gained back the lead, they struggled to close the set at game point.
Thanks to Logan’s game winning kill, La Verne was able to seize the win, 25-16.
The Leopards started strong in their third and final set with a five-point lead of 7-2, but after numerous bad calls by the referee, the Bulldogs were once again back in the game, tied at 13-13.
“Our communication was not great,” senior defensive specialist Mika Chan said. “We played sloppy here and there.”
The Leopards again were able to regroup and take the win at 25-17, closing the match 3-0, defeating the Bulldogs.
“This was an important conference win before going into some bigger games coming up,” junior outside hitter Randi Taylor-Toomay said.
Although the Leopards were able to sweep their opponent, they committed several errors that let the Bulldogs ease their way back into a match that looked like it should have been a fairly trouble-free win.
“The confidence of this win will continue to motivate us,” Taylor-Toomay said.
The women will need to improve their communication skills and energy level if they want to dominate their next opponent, Chapman.
In their last match, the Panthers beat the Leopards, 3-1.
The next match will take place at 3 p.m. today on Frantz Athletic Court as part of the Leopard Invitational Tournament.
Alyssa Cole can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.