Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhototgraphy.com
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – The Whittier College volleyball team for the third time this season dropped a tight decision to the Regals of Cal Lutheran University falling in the semi finals of the SCIAC Post Season Tournament 25-15, 25-10, 25-23 in front of a fan base of almost 400..
Whittier completes their 2011 season 13-19 overall and 8-6 in SCIAC play helping them earn the second best record in Whittier College history since 1999. This also marks the first time in six years the Poets have made the SCIAC Post Season Tournament.
In game one, Whittier jumped out to an early 8-3 lead but saw their lead slip away late as Kylie McLogan helped lead the Regals to the first game victory thanks to eight kills and seven digs. Even with a majority of the fans in attendance being from Whittier College the Poets were unable to get into the match as Cal Lutheran cruised to a 25-10 second set win putting Whittier in a hole.
In game two, Cal Lutheran only committed two attacking errors and they turned a 6-6 tie into a 12-6 lead and they finished off the game with the help of Jackie Russel who served out the final seven points to help the Regals take a commanding 2-0 lead.
Unlike the first two sets when Cal Lutheran was able to build an early and sizable lead, the Regals had to wait until the latter moments of the third set before pulling away from the Poets.
In game three, Whittier had its chances as Alayna Rigo paced the Poets and kept them alive as she totaled 11 kills on 29 attempts for a .276 hitting percentage, while Alessandra Rios dished out 18 assists to help the Purple and Gold stay neck and neck with the Regals.
Despite a strong defensive effort from Lindsey Kish who tallied 10 digs in the back row, the Poet defense was unable to stop the attack from Shannon Pearson, and Rachel Smith who helped Cal Lutheran gain the 25-23 win late, helping them reach the finals of the SCIAC Post Season Tournament for the second straight year.
Coach Ali Oliver hit many milestones this season including:
1) Sweeping the University of Redlands and University of La Verne (1st Time in Ali's Tenure)
2) 13-18 overall record (Second best record since 1999)
3) SCIAC Post Season Tournament Appearance (1st Time in the programs history)
4) Beating Pomona-Pitzer and Occidental College (1st time in Ali's tenure)
5) Took No. 15 Cal Lutheran to five sets early in the season
Coach Oliver has a lot to look forward to next season as she returns her entire starting lineup, while at the same time having her freshman gain a lot of experience that will only make the team stronger for next year. Keep your eyes on Whittier College volleyball because they will be a sight to see.