St. Olaf tops Chapman and La Verne to start Pacific Coast Classic

LA VERNE, Calif. – The St. Olaf College volleyball team began its 2019 season with a pair of victories at the Pacific Coast Classic on Friday, sweeping Chapman University in three sets before downing the University of La Verne in four sets at the Sports Science and Athletics Pavilion.

St. Olaf (2-0) started the day by sweeping past Chapman (1-1) by scores of 25-19, 25-19 and 25-12 after limiting the Panthers to an attack percentage of .076. In the second match, the Oles topped La Verne (0-2), which was receiving votes in the American Volleyball Coaches' Association (AVCA) Preseason Poll, in four sets, 34-32, 24-26, 25-20, 25-21 behind 27 combined kills from senior Lauren Rewers and junior Summer Reid.

St. Olaf 3, Chapman 0 | Box Score

In the opener, Rewers came two blocks shy of a triple-double, tallying 11 kills, 10 digs and eight block assists for St. Olaf. The Oles featured a balanced attack, receiving eight kills from junior Morgan Marxer, seven apiece from sophomore Katelyn Lannom and first year Nicole Banitt and six from Reid.

Junior Lexi Wall had assists on 38 of St. Olaf's 42 kills in the match, as the Oles hit .267 as a team. She also added 12 digs to join Rewers in recording a double-double. Senior Emily Jarnigan paced St. Olaf with 13 digs.

Trailing 18-16 in the opening set, the Oles rattled off seven-straight points on Wall's serve to take a 23-18 lead, with Chapman using both of its timeouts in the run. The Panthers ended the run with a kill before a block and a kill by Rewers gave St. Olaf the first set.

In the second, St. Olaf broke an 18-18 tie by winning seven of the final eight points to go ahead two sets to none. Lannom had a pair of kills in the strong close to the set and added an ace on set point.

The Oles raced out to an 8-0 lead in the third set, with senior Haley Langeslag hitting three-straight aces in the run. A 9-0 run later in the set on first year Selena Rodriguez's serve stretched St. Olaf's lead to 20-3, as Rodriguez had three aces of her own over the nine-point stretch. Chapman saved four match points after trailing 24-12 before an error gave the Oles the sweep.

St. Olaf 3, La Verne 1 | Box Score

Jarnigan made a career-high 24 digs and was one of four Oles in double figures in the category, as St. Olaf held La Verne to a .074 attack percentage on its way to a four-set win to close out the day.

St. Olaf racked up 102 digs in the match, as Wall had 20 to go with 41 assists, junior Jordan Melz added a career-high 18 and Langeslag posted 17. Rewers contributed six block assists and nine digs in addition to her 15 kills, while Banitt had seven block assists to go with seven kills.

The Oles trailed 20-14 in the opening set before forcing the set to extra points and eventually winning it 34-32. Down 24-22, St. Olaf saved a pair of set points on attack errors by the Leopards. The teams combined to fend off 11 set points, with La Verne holding six and St. Olaf having five, before an attack error and a block error sent the opener to the Oles.

St. Olaf recovered from an early 7-2 deficit in the second to take a 24-21 lead thanks to a 7-0 run late in the second on Wall's serve. The Leopards, however, won the final five points of the set to even the match at a set apiece.

In the third, a Reid kill and three-straight La Verne attack errors gave St. Olaf a 13-10 lead, an advantage that would grow to 20-13 later in the set thanks to a 4-0 run that included a pair of aces by Rewers. The Leopards hung around by winning the next four points but could not get any closer, as the Oles took it 25-20 to take a two-sets-to-one lead.

Looking to close out the match, St. Olaf led 20-17 late in the fourth but a quick 3-0 run by the Leopards knotted the set at 20-20. Out a timeout, the Oles won three-straight points of their own to prompt a La Verne timeout. After a kill brought the Leopards back within two, a kill by Rewers and a block by Lannom and Rewers closed out the match to bring an end to a 2-0 day for the Oles.

St. Olaf takes on two teams receiving national attention on day two of the tournament on Saturday, Aug. 31 when it faces Cal Lutheran (3:45 p.m. CT) and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (5:45 p.m. CT) in Claremont, Calif. Cal Lutheran received votes in the AVCA Preseason Poll, while Claremont-Mudd Scripps is ranked No. 5 in the nation to start 2019.