After Chapman’s season long rivalry with Cal Lutheran, the Regals got the last word in the women’s volleyball SCIAC tournament final, where they swept the Panthers 25-18, 25-18 and 25-18 Saturday.
The win handed No. 1 seed Cal Lu (27-4, 15-1) automatic entry into the NCAA tournament while the No. 2 seed Panthers (23-6, 14-2) await their fate which will be decided by the Division III committee. The matchup will be announced during the selection show Monday at 8 a.m. on NCAA.com.
“It was rough,” said junior setter Corrine Ostrovsky. “We’ll probably still get a bid for the playoffs, which is good, but we won’t be ranked for the tournament.”
With a successful season behind them and domination in the first match of the tournament, the Panthers lost the fight for an automatic NCAA tournament berth. This was the second sweep Cal Lu claimed over the Panthers.
“In the first set, we were even and battling back and forth until the end,” Ostrovsky said. “But then they took off and we couldn’t keep consistent with them.”
Junior outside hitter Lena Buckendorf said the team was unable to find its footing to combat Cal Lu’s high octane attack.
“Tonight, we just didn’t play as our team,” she said. “We let points affect us.”
Ostrovsky said the team didn’t play well enough early in the game for a chance at victory.
“We fought back pretty hard, but it was too little too late,” Ostrovsky said. “The last game, we just couldn’t pull it together.”
The highlight of the Panthers’ week was sweeping the No. 3 seed University of La Verne Thursday in the SCIAC tournament semi-finals.
Chapman started strong winning the first set 25-21. La Verne came out harder in the second set, pushing the Panthers down to a 9-2 disadvantage. But Chapman was able to rally back with a 13-10 lead and ended the set with a kill from senior outside hitter Ashleigh Gideon to put the score at 25-22.
“Although we were down, we served really tough,” said Head Coach Mary Cahill. “They weren’t able to get good passes, so we could get easier hits from them.”
The tense third set began with a lead for the Panthers, but La Verne fought them off, bringing the score to 7-6. The Panthers neutralized the Leopards by regaining the lead at 15-9, but the Leopards crept back to gain an advantage with 19-17. Senior middle blocker Kate Ferrin helped finish the Leopards off with two successive kills, and junior right side hitter McKenna Roice claimed the win for the Panthers with one last kill.
“I thought we played really well, especially for playing at an away court,” Cahill said.
Gideon managed a total of 17 kills in the game, with sophomore middle blocker Val Geiger coming in with 10 and Ferrin with nine.
“We usually rely a lot on our passing, but [Saturday] was rough,” Ostrovsky said. “The pressure of the championship might have gotten to some people.”