Women’s volleyball loses third straight conference game

The women’s volleyball team lost its last three conference games of the season so far, after starting the season with a 5-0 conference record. The team traveled to Occidental College Oct. 3 for a disappointing 3-2 loss after a hard-fought battle that resulted in Chapman’s third consecutive in-conference loss.

“We were plagued by injuries,” said head coach Mary Cahill. “We had two outside hitters out from concussions by the third set. With new people out there, it takes a little bit of time to figure out what’s going on and I think it threw us off.”

After winning the first two sets on Oct. 3, Chapman couldn’t clinch another set , and Occidental stole the game after winning the final three. The fourth set of the game went 30-28 in Occidental’s favor.

Junior middle blocker Lauren Friend moves to spike the ball in Chapman’s 3-1 home loss to Pomona Sept. 30. Panther Archives

“My focus, and I think our team’s focus, came from the fact that we believed we were more than capable of winning,” said junior defensive specialist Sara Utsugi. “When a match is that close, every pass, set, hit, block and serve matters. It came down to the fact that Occidental made a few less mistakes than we did, which cost us that set.”

There were a total of fifteen instances of tie game throughout the fourth set alone.

“We played consistent (in the first two sets),” Cahill said. “We were talking and just playing.In the fourth set – I thought we were gonna pull it out and go home, but we just couldn’t do it.”

After its loss to Occidental (8-8, 3-4 in conference ), Chapman (11-6, 5-3 in conference) is now tied for fourth place with Whittier College in the Southern California intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC).

“Our season has been weird,” Cahill said. “We’ve beat the top teams and lost to teams that are right in line with us. I’m thankful that we are 5-3 going into the second round (of SCIAC play) next Tuesday.”

Last season, despite winning its final four games, the volleyball team finished in fourth place – but missed the playoffs after losing a tiebreaker against with Pomona-Pitzer.

“We just need to get our momentum back,” Cahill said. “We know we are good, we need to play like it.”

Chapman’s next game will be at home at 7 p.m. Oct. 6 in a non-conference game against Vanguard University. Chapman will resume conference play at 7 p.m. Oct. 10 at Whittier, to break the fourth-place tie in the SCIAC standings.

“Although last night was a disappointing loss, everyone stepped up and did what they had to do, so I think we can really feed off of what we did well last night,” Utsugi said. “The energy on the court feels good, so now it’s about limiting errors, trusting our teammates and getting back into the flow of things.”

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