THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - No. 15 Cal Lutheran passed its first SCIAC test in impressive fashion Tuesday evening as the host Regals defeated No. 22 Occidental by a score of 25-21, 21-25, 25-21, 25-12.
Box score: CLU 3, OXY 1 - F
The Regals have now defeated the Tigers in the last 16 consecutive head-to-head matches, a string of wins that initially began during the 2004 season. Tuesday's result is the third 3-1 victory secured by the Regals throughout their current run, the other 13 were all earned via three-set sweeps.
Responsible for all but three of CLU's assists, junior setter Jackie Russell followed her record-setting performance from matches taking place last Saturday by recording a season-high 53 assists against the Tigers.
Casy McWhirk also recorded a season-high performance of her own against Occidental; finishing with 25 digs, McWhirk tied teammate Rachel Smith's effort against Southwestern (TX) to gain a share of the largest single-game digs total earned by an individual this season.
Lead by McWhirk and her 15, four different players recorded double-digit kills for Cal Lutheran. Shannon Pearson, Kylie McLogan, and Smith ended with 14, 13, and 11 respectively.
Splitting the first two sets against one another, Cal Lutheran jumped out to an five point lead early in the pivotal third set, forcing Occidental head coach Heather Collins to take a time-out with her team trailing 12-16.
The brief respite from action was futile in its attempt to squelch the Cal Lutheran offense; unable to stop McWhirk, Pearson, and Smith from earning kills at will, Occidental was successful in closing the gap to only four points before CLU earned the decisive point to take the lead at 2-1.
With Occidental clearly on their heels at that point of the match, Cal Lutheran jumped out to a quick 13-8 lead, earning 12 of the final 16 points scored in the match to hand the Tigers their third loss of the season.
Occidental entered Gilbert Arena victorious in seven of its eight previously played matches.
Beginning this Friday, Sept. 23 at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (6-5, 1-0 SCIAC), three of the next four Cal Lutheran (8-4, 1-0 SCIAC) matches will take place on the road. A 7:30 p.m. start is scheduled for Friday's contest.