Women’s volleyball wins final 4 games, misses playoffs on tiebreaker

The Chapman women’s volleyball team will not be proceeding to the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference playoffs this season, despite winning its final four games of the season.  

Even though the team did not progress to the playoffs, junior opposite Kylie Cooke said the team was still proud of the results, especially in its 3-2 away win against Whittier College Oct. 25.

“Whittier was one of the most exciting games of the season because we came back from losing the first two sets and beat them in five at their place,” Cooke said. “We have not won a game at Whittier College in a couple of years, so this was an awesome win for (head coach) Mary Cahill and we beat Redlands on their senior night, so that was great too.”

The game against Whittier started off poorly for the Panthers, as they lost the first two sets 27-29 and 19-25. But Chapman came back, bouncing back from the early deficit to win the final three sets 25-18, 25-23 and 17-15.

Cooke said the team’s careful work in practice led to the positive results.

We worked a lot on blocking and digging because our defense was struggling a bit in the last games against some great hitters in our conference,” Cooke said. “Our coaches also worked with our hitters to work on different spots to hit on the court while still being aggressive, which definitely helped us pull out those last couple wins.”

Chapman finished the season tied for fourth place with Pomona-Pitzer, but the Panthers ended up in fifth place after losing out on a tiebreaker to Pomona-Pitzer. The Panthers allowed 31 points against them, while Pomona-Pitzer only allowed 26, giving the Sagehens the playoff-securing margin.

Sophomore middle blocker Lauren Friend said the playoff result came as a surprise to the team.

The thing is that we did not know it was our last game, so it was an odd aftershock,” Friend said. “We won, so we knew we were in fourth place and betting that we would continue practice for playoffs, however after the game, we were told (Pomona-Pitzer) tied.”

The Panthers’ final game was against Redlands on Oct. 28, when they won 3-1. While Redlands took the first set 25-23, the Panthers emerged victorious by storming through the rest of the game 25-14, 25-20, 25-14.

“I felt good now that I am finally putting all of the pointers together, because in the middle of the season, I had the mentality that when I went to swing, someone was getting a point, either us or them,” Friend said. “However, now I am being much smarter with my placement and incorporating tips and roll shots.”

Friend said that the Panthers finished the season strong.

“We played like there was nothing to lose,” Friend said. “(Sophomore outside hitter) Courtney Justus has tendinitis in her foot and played through it, so we were really playing for each other.”

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