The Chapman volleyball team kicked its season off Tuesday with a composed, three-set victory over the visiting Antelope Valley Pioneers. With a new season comes new expectations, new personnel and a blank slate; all of which the women took advantage of in the season opener.
After an admittedly disappointing season last year, the team looked determined to get off to a positive start. While the match was certainly tight at points, most notably in the second set, the Panthers looked to be in control from the outset. The team never trailed by more than a point, a deficit they quickly erased in the second set.
The Panthers set the tone early on, taking the first set 25-16. They controlled the tempo of the game, with freshman setter Kaitlyn Raymundo consistently providing high quality service to her teammates, as well as making some impressive digs throughout the course of the match.
Raymundo’s sister, sophomore outside hitter Cheri Raymundo, said the team was full of confidence going in, but still had a few nerves.
“Going into the game I was only slightly nervous because it was the first game but I had a feeling we were going to do well,” she said.
Despite that minor sense of nervousness, Raymundo clarified that the team was full of confidence.
“I felt like we were confident in our play and ready for whatever the other team threw at us,” Cheri Raymundo said.
That confidence was evident, with Kaitlyn Raymundo frequently finding success through the channel of senior outside hitter Michele Hammer. Hammer had a spectacular game, racking up 13 kills, and was responsible for 16 of Chapman’s points. Kaitlyn Raymundo also funneled service through sophomore middle blocker Alexandria Robinson and freshman middle blocker Lauren Friend. Both were extremely efficient, knocking down 62.5 and 66.7 percent of their chances, respectively.
The toughest test the Panthers faced throughout the game came in the second set. The Pioneers managed to battle back from a 7-12 deficit to take a 20-19 lead, but the Panthers quickly reversed the tide back in their favor, closing out the set with a 6-2 run.
Ending the second set strong, the Panthers carried that momentum on to the third set. After being down by a point earlier, the Panthers proceeded to control the remainder of the match, finishing out the third set with a score of 25-19, and cruising to a relatively easy three-set sweep.
Cheri Raymundo was impressed by her teammates’ confident showing, but was not surprised.
“I felt like we were super prepared for our first match. Everyone on and off the bench was ready to play and knew exactly where to be on the court,” she said. “I think our coaching staff did an amazing job preparing us for the season by keeping us in shape, teaching us where to be, and helping us come together as a team.”
The results of that preparation were evident, and the women look to continue their success throughout the season
“Our goal is to make top two in the conference finals, which I can see us accomplishing since we have an awesome group of girls this year, ” Cheri Raymundo said.
To read The Panther’s preview of the fall sports season, click here.