Redlands Volleyball Falls in Season Opener against La Sierra
The University of Redlands volleyball team kicked off the 2012 campaign with a morning match against NAIA opponent, La Sierra University, in Currier Gym on Friday. With a refreshed lineup, the Bulldogs battled through each set but came up short by scores of 18-25, 22-25, 23-25.
During the opening stanza, the teams traded punches en route to a four-all tie but the Golden Eagles found their rhythm to erupt on a 14-2 run.
However, the Bulldogs won six consecutive points with sophomore middle blocker Maddi Clark (Escondido, CA) at the back line. Highlighting the rally, she uncorked a pair of service aces.
Down 12-18, Redlands clawed its way back to within four at 18-22 as sophomore outside hitter Jackie Starks (Long Beach, CA) fired off four serves. During this span, the Maroon and Gray also took advantage of a cold hitting streak by the Golden Eagles that included four of their nine first-set errors.
Unfortunately, the tables turned on the Bulldogs, as La Sierra unleashed three straight points to capture the opening set by a score of 25-18.
During the second frame, the teams experienced a similar turn of events, as La Sierra broke an early tie to surge ahead by a score of 8-3.
But Redlands answered a five-point hole with a six-point run to even the score at nine apiece. With junior setter Jen Wacker (Longmont, CO) serving, senior outside hitter Sam Dodson (Alamogordo, NM) capped off this effort with back-to-back kills.
The teams continued to battle back and forth, leading to tied scores at 17, 18 and 19 apiece. But an effective Golden Eagle offense took over with four straight points and the eventual 25-23 decision. Sophomore outside hitter Lina Semaia (Riverside, CA) offered three of her seven kills during this span.
The third set saw an even tighter performance by these two squads, resulting in multiple knotted scores. The final tie came at 23-all when freshman middle blocker Ashton Martin (Redlands, CA) put away her eighth kill of her collegiate debut with the Bulldogs.
However, La Sierra took a valuable timeout and subsequently capitalized on back-to-back errors by Redlands to clinch the three-set victory.
Overall, Martin led the Maroon and Gray with a .222 hitting percentage. Dodson added to the team's offensive output with seven kills. Junior setter Alisha Cornick (Hollister, CA) and Wacker shared the ball-distribution duties with 15 and nine assists, respectively.
Sophomore libero Courtney Johnson (Dana Point, CA) led the defense with nine digs, with Martin backing her with seven.
The Golden Eagles (6-2) gained the only double-digit kill performance of the match, as junior outside hitter Guadalupe Garcia (Los Angeles, CA) knocked down 10 for a hitting percentage of .276. Junior setter Colleen Stafford (Auburn, CA) provided 28 assists to go along with a team-high 13 digs.
Redlands (0-1) looks to rebound on Sept. 7-8 at the CLU Posada Royale Invitational, beginning with Grinnell College (IA) on Friday at 3 p.m. in Thousand Oaks.