The University of Redlands women's volleyball team traveled to Whittier College on Saturday evening for a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) match against the Poets. Despite another seven-block performance, the Bulldogs struggled on the offensive side of the match and lost in straight sets, 16-25, 18-25, 17-25.
The first set saw the Poets take an early lead but the Bulldogs battled back with kills by sophomore Christina Casey (Sherwood, CA) and sophomore right-side hitter Megan Houston (Normandy Park, WA). Although Whittier answered with a short spurt of scoring, the Maroon and Gray took advantage of a few Poet miscues and tough serving from its own senior libero Abigail Hickman (Phoenix, AZ) to make it a two-point game at 7-9. A well-timed block from sophomore right-side hitter Maloree Kupp (Sunnyside, WA) and sophomore middle hitter Sofia Olsson(Cupertino, CA) added to the Bulldogs' points, as did another kill and quality serving from Olsson to make it a 12-13 tally.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Whittier founds its rhythm and pulled away for the opening-set victory.
A tight start to the second set made things interesting for Redlands, with a solid wall of a block by Houston and Olsson providing key momentum. The Bulldogs stretched out a lead to 9-5 with sophomore right-side hitter Melanie Fyda (Chicago, IL) providing quality kills and sophomore middle hitter Sammi Tafoya (Granite Bay, CA) and freshman outside hitter Savannah Casey (Encinitas, CA) stepping up with a block.
However, the Poets responded to earn a slight advantage at 13-11 before committing an error. A kill apiece by sophomore setter Emily Marty (Chula Vista, CA) and Fyda knotted the tally at 13 and again at 14, but another positive stretch of points for Whittier provided the difference in the final tally.
The third set saw the Poets close in on the sweep by establishing a lead early on and never looking back.
Fyda led the Maroon and Gray with seven kills, while Olsson and S. Casey each provided three block assists. Hickman registered 23 digs in a solid effort from the back row.
Redlands (6-16, 2-11 SCIAC) faces Cal Lutheran University on Tuesday, October 24, in Currier Gym at 7 p.m.