Women’s Volleyball falls to Cal Lutheran

The women’s volleyball team lost in the second round of playoffs in the 2011 NCAA Volleyball Regionals. The weekend capped a record-setting season for the 24-9 Panthers, who recorded the most wins since the program joined Division III play.

The Panthers fell to California Lutheran University in three sets Saturday after beating nationally ranked No. 10 Southwestern University (30-4) Friday in Cal Lu’s Gilbert Arena in Thousand Oaks. The Panthers had lost to Cal Lu earlier in the season 3-1.

Senior outside hitter/libero and team captain Alyssa Swatek thought the team had the drive to win from their last couple of games.

“We have been the underdogs this entire tournament,” Swatek said. “I definitely think we made a name for Chapman’s volleyball program by taking out Southwestern.”

The last time Chapman won 24 games or more was in 1989 when the team won 27 in Division II during Head Coach Mary Cahill’s first year.

“We knew we would have the highest winning record in Chapman Division III history if we won on Friday,” said Val Geiger, freshman middle blocker.

The Panthers were able to surprise and upset Southwestern, but Cal Lu was unrelenting. The women kept the scores close (25-21, 26-24, 25-22) in the second match but were unable to steal a set.

“We played a hell of a game, but Cal Lu just pulled out the win,” Swatek said. “We left everything on the court and have no regrets.”

Junior middle blocker and outside hitter Laura Posada is proud of the season they had this year despite the painful playoff loss.

“[Saturday] was a tough game,” Posada said. “We played well, but Cal Lu is a great team and they never stopped pushing for the win.

Swaterk and junior outside hitter Kate Ferrin recorded season-high numbers in Friday’s game with 40 digs and 16 kills. Swatek and Ferrin recorded 16 digs and 11 kills in Saturday’s game.

Chapman led Southwestern in kills, 53 to 52, and Cal Lu led with 48 kills to Chapman’s 35.

Chapman had to play the tournament without senior middle blocker Nalani Haviland, a key player who rolled her ankle at the last practice before playoffs and was unable to play.

“Everyone had to step up and play in her place,” Swatek said. “It’s good that we have a deep team that can step up and help when they are needed.”

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