The women’s volleyball team defeated visiting University of Redlands Tuesday night 3-0 (29-27, 25-22, 25-20) in the Panthers’ sixth sweep of the year.
Despite getting off to the best start in Chapman’s Division III history with a 9-2 record, Head Coach Mary Cahill thinks the team can improve.
“We’ve been very inconsistent thus far.” Cahill said. “Some games we play well; others, not so much.”
Redlands (3-5, 0-3) kept Tuesday’s game close, but ultimately the Panthers were able to finish and stay undefeated in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC). All-American senior middle blocker Kate Ferrin finished off the game with two straight kills.
The Panthers struggled in the first set and Redlands grabbed an early 2-0 lead, but Chapman came back to win a close first set in overtime, 29-27.
Senior outside hitter Ashleigh Gideon, who led the team with 15 kills, said the team struggled in preparation for the match.
“We came in expecting to win automatically.” she said. “We basically came out flat, had a bad warm-up, and lacked energy.”
The second set mirrored the first, as the Panthers trailed early. Down by five at two different instances, Chapman was able to stage a comeback, tying the game at 22.
Gideon said the comeback propelled the team in the right direction.
“I think it was really the turning point in the game,” she said.
Panthers were able to pull away with a 25-22 win in the second set.
Chapman Athletics’ student-athlete of the week, sophomore middle blocker Val Geiger, came through big in clutch situations in the first two sets, and the third was no different.
After losing the lead and the momentum late in the third set, the Panthers were able to pull off five straight points, winning the game 25-20.
“We couldn’t lose focus, we had to close it out,” Geiger said. “They were gaining momentum. It was definitely the biggest moment of the game.”
Junior setter Corrine Ostrovsky earned 52 assists, which was a career high for a three-set match.
Cahill said a lack of focus, not talent is the problem.
“Warm-ups were very lackadaisical. There was a real lack of focus early on.” she said. “We’ve been playing well, but this should be a wake-up call.”
Cahill preaches a specific regimen to her players.
“The only way to fix this problem is through repetition,” she said. “We have to go over these same scenarios throughout the week in practice.”
Redlands Head Coach Mari Winter knew Cahill’s team would present a challenge.
“We always prepare for an epic battle against Chapman. This game was no different, very exciting.” Winter said. “They’ve got some heavy hitters over there, (Geiger) especially, and they’re always very well coached.”
The Panthers continue their home stand and welcome Pomona-Pitzer Colleges to the Hutton Sports Center Saturday at 7 p.m.