WHITTIER, Calif. - The Whittier College volleyball team snapped its four match losing streak on Friday evening with a three-set sweep of Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference rival Occidental in front of a crowd of 150 at the Graham Athletics Center.
The Poets (4-5, 2-3 SCIAC) set a team-high for the season in total attempts with 135, digs at 71 and total team blocks with 12.
Vanessa Amran and Melissa Johnson each set season bests with one block solo and five block assists on the evening. Amran also added her season best with 32 assists. Her previous high was 25 against Caltech on September 18.
Whittier and Occidental (8-10, 2-3 SCIAC) battled hard in the first set but it was the Poets who prevailed by a tally of 25-23.
The purple and gold had its back against the wall in the second set as it trailed 24-20. The Poets avoided the loss with six consecutive points to take the set. Aya Nakano took the serve with the four point deficit and used two of her three services aces to help WC take a 2-0 lead.
Nakano finished the match with 18 kills and 43 attempts which sets new highs for the team. Her .256 attacking percentage was a team-high for the contest.
In the third set the Tigers held a 16-10 advantage but Whittier scored eight of the next 11 points to climb within one at 19-18. The Poets were able to tie the score at 20 and take their first lead of the set at 21-20.
The teams went back and forth over the next seven volleys. Whittier had a chance to end the match at 25-24 but Occidental pulled out the point and tied the match at 24.
WC scored the next two points which includes a kill by Natalie Barajas to end the game and snap the Poets' losing skid.
Barajas finished with eight kills on 37 attempts.
Nakano registered 20 digs, Barajas finished with 14 and Katie Sharpe and Amran each had 12.
Ashley Terich had the hot hand with serves as she had a game-high four aces.
The Poets return to action tomorrow, October 3, as they hit the road to face Redlands at 2 pm.