The Leopards received a royal beat down from the Cal Lutheran Regals Tuesday night at Frantz Athletic Court, losing 3-0.
With the loss the Leopards drop to third in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and the Regals climb into second place.
“They’re a very balanced team,” head coach Jenna Panatier said. “They’re a fearless team with great hitters.”
In the first set Cal Lutheran came out firing with quick 3-0 lead.
The Leopards clawed their way back into the set and took the lead late in the set, 25-24.
La Verne failed to score the set point and the Regals finished the set the way they started it, by scoring three straight points.
The set ended with a kill from sophomore outside hitter Kylie McLogan that put the Regals on top, 27-25.
The Regals ended the first set with 19 kills and the Leopards had 17 kills.
“They came out strong,” middle blocker Kayla Cribbs said. “We just need to work on finishing our games.”
The next two sets were not as close as the first.
The second set began with a back and forth battle for the lead until Cal Lutheran pulled away, building up a 17-11 lead.
“We stuck to our game plan,” Cribbs said. “They’re eighth in the nation, they’re a tough team.”
Cribbs and senior outside hitter Randi Taylor-Toomay led the Leopards in kills with 11 a piece.
The Regals sustained the lead for the rest of the set, winning 25-20.
With their backs against the wall, the Leopards needed to win the third set to avoid their second loss in a row.
Things looked optimistic for the Leopards early as they took an 8-7 lead.
The optimism was short lived when the Regals went on a 10-5 run, taking the lead, 18-12.
The third and final set ended the same way the first set did, with a kill from McLogan, which was the final dagger the Regals needed to end the game.
Cal Lutheran ended the set on a 7-4 run, winning 25-16.
“I felt like we did OK,” junior defensive specialist and libero Morgan Donohue said. “We could have done way better.”
The Regals had 47 kills compared to the Leopards’ 36.
Cal Lutheran also had 54 digs and eight team blocks.
La Verne could not keep up with the Regals, getting 42 digs and only two team blocks.
Senior Kendall Kraiss led the Leopards in digs with 15. She was the only player for the Leopards to get into double digits. The Regals had three players hit that mark.
“We have good stuff to work on tomorrow,” Panatier said.
“We just have to finish the season strong,” Donohue said.
The team is now 17-4 overall and 10-3 in SCIAC.
The Leopards look to bounce back against the UC Santa Cruz Bannana Slugs at 7 p.m. Friday night at Frantz Athletic Court.
Their next SCIAC match will be against the Caltech Beavers at 7 p.m. Oct. 23 at Caltech.
Christian Orozco can be reached at email@example.com.