The Chapman women’s volleyball team (8-8, 4-4) had a successful week, taking wins from two out of three of its games. It began the week with a 3-0 win at the California Institute of Technology Tuesday, Sept. 27.
Over the weekend, Chapman lost to Whittier College 3-1 on Sept. 30 and ended it with a homecoming victory over the University of Redlands 3-1 on Oct. 1 at the Hutton Sports Center.
Chapman dominated Caltech (1-10, 0-6) in the first two sets, winning 25-6 and 25-7. Caltech came close to taking the third set away from the Panthers, but Chapman recovered from a shaky start, taking the set and match with a 28-26 win.
Despite the success earlier in the week, Chapman found itself overmatched against Whittier on Friday, losing at home.
“It was a tough loss to Whittier on Friday,” said junior opposite Kylie Cooke. “We definitely let them outplay us.”
Despite a strong start by Whittier (5-11, 3-4) in the first two sets with scores of 25-18 and 25-22, the Panthers came back and won the third set 25-22. However, Chapman was unable to keep up that momentum and lost the game to the Poets with a defeat in the final set 25-18.
“Whittier wasn’t so great for us and I can’t really pinpoint one issue, but I think everyone was a little off,” junior middle blocker and co-captain Abby Smith said. “But (sophomore middle blocker) Lauren Friend and (sophomore outside hitter) Lindsey Johnson played really great despite the loss.”
Friend scored a career-high 14 kills at a .722 percentage.
“(Assistant coach) John and (head coach) Mary (Cahill) have been making a lot of changes to my arm swing in practice, and as always with change there is a transition period before it clicks and in this game all of the changes shined through,” Friend said. “When I take my approach, we chose a different rhythm and length of steps.”
While Friend played well individually, the team still struggled.
“This was not the best hitting night for us,” Friend said. “We made a lot of unforced errors and let them get a lot of runs where they scored multiple points in a row.”
However, the very next night the Panthers turned the tables in their favor and defeated the Bulldogs in four sets, 25-19, 18-25, 25-23 and 25-23.
“Redlands is a very good serving team and they lead the conference in aces,” Friend said. “We made sure that we kept our serve receive relaxed in order to get a pass that our setters can work with and that was crucial.”
During the first set of the game, the Panthers scored a game-high 20 kills. However, immediately after that, the Bulldogs (10-6, 2-5) bounced back and won the second set.
“We were able to come back from the loss during game two and play hard to finish it,” Smith said. “We joked that Jessica might have gotten the most kills and she’s the setter.”
The Panthers will go up against La Sierra University on Wednesday, Oct. 5 at the Hutton Sports Center and will resume conference play with an away game against Pomona-Pitzer on Friday, Oct. 7.