Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
Article by: Abby Salmon (Sports Information Intern)
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - The Whittier College Volleyball team sat fifth in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) standings going into Friday night as they traveled to Thousand Oaks, Calif. to face California Lutheran University, who sat a spot in front of them. Unfortunately, the Poets weren't able to pull off the upset as they were swept 25-18, 25-12, 25-23.
The Purple & Gold have now lost three in a row as they drop to 8-10, 3-4 SCIAC.
Marissa Montoya (Glendora, Calif.) got Whittier off to a strong start with two back to back kills. Valerie van der Linden (Auburn, Calif.) also contributed with three kills early in the match before either team reached ten points. CLU used a 4-0 spurt midway through to move the score to 15-10 and despite five of the next seven going to Whittier it wouldn't be enough to complete the comeback as CLU would add five straight down the stretch to make the score 22-15 before eventually taking the first set 25-18.
Whittier struggled to find their offense in the second set as Franki Piloto (Ontario, Calif.) and Katelyn Popoff (Hacienda Heights, Calif.) each added strikes. The Regals got on top 11-7 and then stretched their advantage with CLU's Makenzie Martinez serving eight points in a row. The run finally ended with a kill from van der Linden, making the score 20-8. The Poets tried to mount a comeback with Kathea Schamblin (Bakersfield, Calif.) collecting an ace followed by the middles, van der Linden and Abby Salmon (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), each getting kills but it wouldn't make a dent as CLU would put WC in a 2-0 hole.
The Poets fought back early in the third set with the help of Piloto who got a kill and a block assist with Salmon. Freshman Hana Abdullah (Walnut, Calif.) saw action in this frame and contributed three kills, one of which tied up the score at 18-18. The score went back and forth after that with Piloto and Serena Alvarez (La Habra, Calif.) adding kills that tied the match up again at 23-23. But in the end the Regals would prevail as Maci Haddad would add a strike followed by a CLU block that handed them the sweep.
Van der Linden led the team in kills from the middle with seven as she hit .417. Meanwhile, Makayla Wright (Covina, Calif) led the team in both assists and digs with 13 of each and Katie Engle (Whittier, Calif.) added 11 pick-ups in the backrow.
Currently ranked No. 6 in SCIAC, Whittier will now face off against the top-ranked Panthers of Chapman University who have won 12 in a row at home this Tuesday, October 8th beginning at 7:00 pm.