September 30, 2011

Poets rally falls short as Oxy wins in tough SCIAC matchup

Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com

WHITTIER, Calif. – The Whittier College women's volleyball team lost in another tight match as they fell to Occidental College 25-20, 20-25, 21-25, 19-25 Friday evening in front of a raucous crowd of almost 200 Poet faithful.

Whittier opened the match hitting an astounding .867 with just one error on 15 attempts to get up early in the first game and to solidify the first game 25-20 despite a late rally by the Tigers.

The first game went back and forth until halfway through the game when the Poets were able to pull away thanks to sophomore outside hitter Alayna Rigo who totaled 14 kills, 13 digs and two service aces for the match. The Purple and Gold continually stayed out in front by five through the latter stages of the first game and were able to finish it off with a kill by Rigo.

In game 2, Whittier jumped out to an early 4-0 lead thanks to three consecutive attacking errors by the Tigers and a service ace by Lindsey Kish. But Occidental began crawling back as they won the next three points and ended up taking their first lead of the game at 10-9. The points went back and forth with no one team taking sole possession of the game until junior Alyssa Sialaris stepped up for Whittier to nail back to back kills to put the Poets up by three 19-16.

Sialaris would end the match with a game high 17 kills and eleven digs. But the Tigers continued to fight and were determined not to go down 0-2 in games. Setter Jessie Altman who was all over the court for the Tigers then stepped up to help them take a lead 20-19 thanks to a game high 47 assists and four kills which came at crucial times. They wouldn't look back as they took game two 25-20.

Game three started off strongly for the Poets as they again went up 4-0 early, but again the Tigers crawled back into the match thanks to Logan Boyer-Hayse who tallied 13 kills for the match. The points continued to go back and forth and as the game got farther along the Poets began making a few errors helping the Tigers open up a larger lead. Sialaris got the Poets within two at 21-19 but that wasn't enough as Occidental went on to win 25-21.

In game four, the Tigers turned the table on the Poets as they jumped out to an early 4-0 lead. But the Poets battled back with strong defense thanks to Adriana Moore who tallied a match high 34 digs. This strong defensive effort opened up opportunities for the Poets as Alessandra Rios steered the Poets to an 18-17 lead as she collected five kills, 16 digs, eight block assists, one ace, and 42 assists in the match. But again the Tigers battled back and continued to have great looks and in the final moments of the match that is what paid dividends, as Occidental went on to win 25-19.

Sophomore Lauren Whiteman contributed nicely with seven kills and two block assists, while freshman Malia Valdivieso was a foundation up front as she totaled five block assists, four kills and 12 digs.

The Poets look to rebound from the loss as they turn right back around to take on the Panthers of Chapman University tomorrow, Saturday, October 1, beginning at 1:00pm.