The Chapman women’s volleyball team (5-4, 1-2) ended a three-game losing streak Sept. 20, beating the University of La Verne 3-2 at the Hutton Sports Center for a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game.
While the Panthers started off with an early two-set lead (25-23, 26-24), the third and fourth sets saw them waver against the Leopards (18-25, 10-25). The Panthers were then able to close out the fifth set 15-13. This was the first game this season for the Panthers that lasted five sets.
Head coach Mary Cahill said the victory did not come easy for Chapman.
“This was a hard match for us,” Cahill said. “At one point, they had all the momentum, so it was nice to gain that back in the end. La Verne is a really good team, so overall I would say it’s a good win for us.”
Sophomore outside hitter Courtney Justus helped the Panthers secure a win by tallying up 15 kills in the game.
“I’m so proud of the game we played today,” Justus said. “I’ve been working on being more aggressive and played for kills tonight.”
According to Justus, this match was a turning point given that the Panthers had lost 3-0 in the previous three games.
“The team dynamic is so good,” Justus said. “We fought for each other and played with a positive mindset.”
Sophomore middle blocker Lauren Friend, who completed eight kills during the game, said that the fifth set can be a test of endurance.
“We do about 10 minutes of sprint training at the beginning of every practice so that if it comes down to the fifth, we will win,” Friend said. “By the time it comes down to the fifth set everyone else is tired, so this gives us an advantage.”
Friend said she believes that La Verne is a strong team that overlooked Chapman at first, but that La Verne took advantage of the Panthers’ nerves in the third set.
“We met an hour early before the game and just talked about our mindset,” Friend said. “We’ve just been going back to basics because that stuff often gets overlooked.”
The Panthers will play against California Lutheran University (11-2, 2-0) in an away game Sept. 23 before returning home for a match against Pomona-Pitzer (6-4, 2-0) at 4 p.m. on Sept. 24.