Sports Women's Volleyball Spotlight

Volleyball gets 3-0 home victory over Pomona-Pitzer, loses 3-1 next day

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Sophomore middle blocker Lauren Friend spikes the ball while sophomore defensive specialist Sara Utsugi follows to help in the Panthers’ game against Pomona-Pitzer Sept. 24. Photo by Allie Camp

Chapman women’s volleyball team (6-5, 2-3) beat Pomona-Pitzer (7-5, 3-1) 3-0 on Saturday, Sept. 24 at the Hutton Sports Center. The next day, Chapman lost 3-1 to the University of California, Santa Cruz in the La Sierra Classic.

Head coach Mary Cahill said the win was particularly gratifying after a crushing defeat 3-0 on Friday, Sept. 23 at the hands of California Lutheran University, who topped the conference last year. This was Pomona-Pitzer’s first conference loss of the season.

“Those guys (Cal Lutheran) were NCAA champs. But we were able to get 21 points each in the last two sets and that itself was pretty good for us to be able to do that,” Cahill said.

Despite winning in three sets on Saturday, the teams were neck-and-neck for most of the game. The first set saw the Panthers going point for point with the Sagehens until the Panthers found an edge late in the set and finished it out 25-22.

The score was close again in the second set, which ended with Chapman winning 29-27.

Freshman outside hitter Eve Silverman was instrumental in these first two sets, scoring the winning kills in both sets.

Sophomore setter Kaitlyn Raymundo sets the ball for sophomore middle blocker Lauren Friend in Chapman's win against Pomona-Pitzer, Sept. 24. Photo by Allie Camp

Sophomore setter Kaitlyn Raymundo sets the ball for sophomore middle blocker Lauren Friend in Chapman’s win against Pomona-Pitzer, Sept. 24. Photo by Allie Camp

“I just put the ball in the right spot,” Silverman said. “Both teams got into it in the second set, but we just got the ball down faster.”

According to Silverman, the biggest strategy for the Panthers was to never let the other team have runs of more than two points in a row.

However, in the third set, that is exactly what happened. The Panthers were up 16-6, but the Sagehens came back with a vengeance, tying the game at 18. Both teams traded points until Chapman closed out the set 26-24, taking the match as well.

“As soon as the other team starts gaining, we start to shut down,” said Lauren Friend, sophomore middle blocker. “If we shank two balls, we get in our heads and go in a downward spiral.”

Friend said that the team performs drills to develop mental toughness, which is required in situations such as Saturday’s third set.

“It’s a tough thing to just snap out of it,” Silverman said. “When those balls kept dropping, I was so down.”

Friend added that the team has work to do.

“We’re going to watch the film and discuss what went well and what didn’t. In my opinion, we need to work on our short runs,” Friend said.

According to Cahill, there were little hiccups in the third set, but they were nothing the team couldn’t work out.

“That’s just volleyball sometimes,” Cahill said. “I’m just glad we won.”

Following the win, Chapman traveled to La Sierra Sept. 25 to close out the week and face off against the University of California, Santa Cruz in the La Sierra Classic. While the Panthers were able to take one set, they ultimately lost 3-1.

The Panthers will face off against Caltech on Tuesday, Sept. 27 before they return home to play against Whittier on Friday, Sept. 30 at 7 p.m.

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