Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
WHITTIER, Calif. – In front of a raucous crowd inside of the Graham Athletic Center, the Whittier College Volleyball team was unable to top the Leopards of the University of La Verne falling in straights 25-21, 25-21, 25-20.
The Purple & Gold who have posted one of the toughest Division III schedules in the country played the Leopards tough Friday evening, a program whom received 48 votes in the NCAA National Rankings.
Whittier (2-9, 0-2 SCIAC) played off the energy in the GAC and handed the Leos a tough battle, with each set going back and forth.
The Poets got off to a hot start with 15 kills on 44 attempts in the first set to hit .295. Casie Lowden (Glendora, Calif.) who was back from an ankle injury registered three straight kills. The Poets matched the Leos kill for kill until the 18-17 mark when ULV was able to rattle off three unanswered to go in front 21-17.
Freshman Aubrey Caires (Garnderville, NV) and senior Rebecca Slattery (Los Altos, Calif.) combined for two kills soon after that kept WC in striking distance but ULV would finish off the frame on a 4-1 run that gave them an early 1-0 lead.
The second set was similar with Whittier hanging around as they capitalized on five straight La Verne miscues but the Leos would roll back with a 5-1 run that gave them a six-point cushion. Whittier fought back with five of six points late to get within two but the Poets wouldn't have an answer for Kelsi Robinson as she would secure the second with two kills in the middle.
In the final frame, La Verne jumped in front 9-4 early. But the Purple & Gold again wouldn't go away quietly as they would rally with five of six points midway through that would get them within one at 15-14. A kill from Olive Anagu (Culver City, Calif.) and a ball handling error from ULV would pull Whittier within two at 22-20 but La Verne would close out the set with three straight that put WC in a hole 2-0.
Anagu finished the game with seven kills and was joined by Caires, Lowden, and Slattery who each had four. Alexis Mills (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) was big in the front row totaling six blocks (4 Assisted/2 Solo), Jasmine Tong (Fullerton, Calif.) finished with eight assists, while Clarissa Standafer (Alta Loma, Calif.) totaled 12 digs in the back row.
Whittier returns to action next Tuesday, September 20 as they take on Pomona-Pitzer beginning at 7:00pm.