The University of Redlands women's volleyball team continued to roll on Friday night by sweeping the Occidental College Tigers in its first Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) match of the season. The Bulldogs gained early leads in the first two sets before rallying back in the third to secure the overall victory by scores of 25-19, 25-20, 26-24.
Redlands came out as the more aggressive squad in the first set, earning a 5-1 lead, which was highlighted by a pair of aces by freshman middle hitterSofia Olsson (Cupertino, CA). Although Oxy cut the deficit to one on multiple occasions, the Bulldogs never trailed, with a series of Tiger errors to help propel them to victory. In addition, sophomore outside hitter Kaylee Burdick(Sun Valley, CA) stepped up with timely kills, while junior libero Abigail Hickman's (Phoenix, AZ) tough serving provided key points for the Maroon and Gray. Hickman finished with six aces on the night.
During the second set, the teams battled back and forth for the first part of action, until Redlands opened things up to a five-point lead, thanks in part to a huge stuff block by senior setter Ellie McLeod (Redlands, CA). The Bulldogs stayed in front by capitalizing on Oxy's miscues and taking advantage of offensive opportunities, with Burdick and Olsson finding hardwood in consecutive rallies.
The third stanza forced the Bulldogs to overcome an early five-point deficit before eventually forcing ties at 20, 21, and 22. Trailing by one at 23-24, Redlands looked to the stellar play of Burdick once again, as she fired off an ace to even the count once at 24. Her subsequent kill gave the Maroon and Gray its first match point, before another Tiger error led to the completed comeback for the Bulldogs.
Overall, Burdick uncorked a match-high 11 kills, to go along with seven digs. Freshman outside hitter Christina Casey (Sherwood, OR backed her with eight kills, as McLeod dished out 23 assists. Hickman and freshman defensive specialist Lauren Lux (San Jose, CA) spearheaded the Bulldogs' defense with 11 and 10 digs apiece.
Redlands (8-1, 1-0 SCIAC) travels to the University of La Verne on Saturday, September 17, for a 6 p.m. SCIAC match against the Leopards.