The University of Redlands women's volleyball team took on the University of La Verne Leopards in a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) match in Currier Gym on Friday night. Despite a hot start, the Bulldogs struggled to maintain their momentum throughout the duration and eventually fell by scores of 20-25, 12-25, 14-25.
Early in the opening set, Redlands jumped out to a 3-0 lead off of the serve of senior defensive specialist Alex Michel (Loma Linda, CA). Following a La Verne attacking error, Michel's serve resulted in an ace and then inspired a kill by sophomore outside hitter Kaylee Burdick (Sun Valley, CA). A quick timeout by the Leopards' head coach allowed the visitors to regroup and force a back-and-forth battle in the ensuing points.
However, the Bulldogs created a mini-run to break a 6-all tie when senior setter Ellie McLeod (Redlands, CA) found hardwood for a crafty kill. Following a ULV error, the Maroon and Gray fired off back-to-back kills to make it 10-6. Freshman right-side hitter Megan Houston (Normandy Park, WA) and freshman middle hitter Sammi Tafoya (Granite Bay, CA) connected on quality assists from McLeod.
Another scoring spurt put the Bulldogs on top by a score of 15-10, with Burdick and freshman middle hitter Sofia Olsson(Cupertino, CA) taking care of business on the attack. Throughout the set, Redlands stepped up its defense by making some miraculous diving plays to keep the rally alive, with freshman libero Lauren Lux (San Jose, CA) and Michel patrolling the back row.
Unfortunately for Redlands, La Verne founds its offensive rhythm at just the right time and regained the lead at 18-17. With quality hitting and well-timed blocks, the Leopards ultimately handed Redlands a first-set loss.
The visitors stayed in control during the subsequent sets, resulting in the sweeping loss for the Maroon and Gray.
Redlands gained a solid hitting performance from Olsson, who knocked down seven kills at a clip of .278. Burdick finished with six kills. McLeod fished out 20 assists.
Defensively, Lux supplied 17 digs, while Michel added eight and Burdick tallied 10.
The Bulldogs (11-9, 2-8 SCIAC) head to Thousand Oaks on Saturday for a 6 p.m. showdown against the No. 7 Cal Lutheran University Regals.