Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
WHITTIER, Calif. – The Whittier College volleyball team played one of their best matches of the year, while at the same time playing their seventh five game match this season but was unable to pull out the win against the No. 15 Regals of Cal Lutheran University falling 25-22, 19-25, 22-25, 25-23, 12-15.
In a thrilling five set match that lasted for two and a half hours, the Purple and Gold fell to the Regals of Cal Lutheran University 3-2 in the Graham Athletic Center.
Five set matches have been the story of the season for Whittier and it has always been the Poets win game one and then continue to fight but fall in the next two games and then win game four to force a deciding fifth game and then narrowly fall to their opponents. If these games turn around and the Poets are on the winning side, they could be tied for first place in the conference.
Coach Oliver has made major improvements since last season and has brought in players who have been making big impacts but closing out matches has been an area of concern.
Sophomore outside hitter Alayna Rigo paced the Poets as she finished the match with a game high 21 kills on 64 attempts for a .219 hitting percentage.
Senior transfer setter Alessandra Rios also reached another plateau as she for her sixth game has tallied over 40 assists bringing her total to 537, but she also totaled six block assists which is her season high.
Game one began with Whittier getting up 2-1 but they then gave up the lead and trailed in the early stages of the game but managed to crawl back to take their second lead and a lead they wouldn't let slip away. They continued to be up by two or three points throughout the game and got up to leading by six at one point but the Regals fought back to tie the game up at 20-20 but that's as close as they would get as Whittier would pull out the first game 25-22.
Whittier took the game to a fifth set thanks to a 25-23 grueling game four that powered up the Poets and gave them confidence going into the final stanza. They got up 1-0 in game five but the Regals rallied off five straight points to take the lead 5-1. But the Poets continued to fight as they came back to get within two at 12-10 and then at 13-11 but after a ball handling error by the Poets and a final kill by Kylie McLogan, the Purple and Gold fell 15-12.
Alyssa Sialaris was difficult to find in the game as she only totaled 13 kills to go with four digs. The leader in kills within SCIAC and who's also ranked No. 13 in the nation in kills was unable to get into a rhythm and was shut down by the front three of Cal Lutheran.
Even though Sialaris had an off night, sophomore Lauren Whiteman stepped up to have one of her biggest games of the year totaling eight kills but at crucial times, while collecting a .471 hitting percentage.
Up front the Poets were led by Malia Valdivieso who totaled four block assists and five kills, to go along with eight digs.
The Poets look to come back from this five set loss as they travel to Thousand Oaks, Calif. to take part in the Cal Lutheran Fall Classic on October 14-15, where they will play Wisconsin Lutheran, Widener, Rhodes, and Mary Washington.