Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
WHITTIER, Calif. – The Whittier College Volleyball team looked strong Friday sweeping the competition in the Graham Athletic Center earning wins over the University of Redlands (3-0) and Austin College (3-0) to extend their winning streak to four games.
With the wins, the Poets improve to 11-5 and are now back at .500 in conference play at 3-3.
Game 1 (Redlands; W, 25-22, 25-23, 25-21)
Despite three tight sets, it was all Whittier as they maintained a strong .242 hitting percentage led by Rebecca Slattery (Los Altos, Calif.) who finished with 17 kills on 42 attempts for a .310 hitting percentage.
Whittier trailed 13-9 in the first set but fought back to pull even with four unanswered, which included three kills coming from Slattery. The Poets would stay in striking distance until the 16-16 mark before they would use two Redlands attacking errors to go in front 18-16, a lead they wouldn't give up as they would receive kills from Olive Anagu (Culver City, Calif.) and Alexis Mills (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) down the stretch that gave them a 1-0 lead.
In the second, Whittier was forced to play catch-up early trailing 4-1 and then again at 15-12 but weathered both storms to tie things up at 18-18 before using a run of three straight, which included a service ace from Jennifer Estrada (Pasadena, Calif.), and kills from Casie Lowden (Glendora, Calif.) and Haley Whyte (Mission Viejo, Calif.).
Leading 21-18, the Poets added on with a strong serving performance from Lowden that gave WC a set point at 24-19. The Bulldogs would get three straight to pull within two behind kills from Kaylee Burdick but Slattery would lay the hammer down in the end giving Whittier a 2-0 lead.
In the third, UR put the Poets in a big hole at 19-14 as they looked to extend the match but an ensuing 11-2 run, which included the final seven points of the frame would give Whittier the sweep.
Torrey Mitsunaga (Culver City, Calif.) finished with a game high 31 assists, had three service aces and seven digs. Whyte, along with her six kills had four block assists and Lowden and Estrada had 12 and 18 digs, each respectively.
Game 2 (Austin College; W, 25-11, 25-17, 25-19)
In the nightcap, the Poets continued where they left off from the earlier game controlling all facets of the match against the Roos hitting a season high .333 as a team, which included a .407 clip in the first set.
Whittier used an 8-0 run midway through the first to extend their lead to 20-8 before winning 25-11. In the second, Austin went in front 5-1 and then again at 10-7 but the Poets would rally to win 10 of the next 12 points that put them in front for the first time 17-12.
The lead then moved to seven at 22-15 before Whittier would get the final three points to go in front 2-0.
In the third, it was all Purple & Gold taking a demanding lead 21-8. The Roos made a huge comeback with eight in a row thanks to a strong serving effort by Rachel Fusselman that pulled Austin College within five but that's as close as they would get as Slattery and Mills would put the finishing touches on the sweep with a trio of kills.
Anagu led the offense with 12 kills, and totaled four blocks (1 solo/3 assisted), Slattery had 10 kills and hit .381, Estrada had 11 digs and Mitsunaga and freshman Hannah Joyce (Newport Beach, Calif.) split the setting duties finishing with 21 and 13, each respectively.
Whittier returns to action when they host Caltech this Tuesday, October 6 beginning at 7:30pm.