Late Struggles Lead to Bulldog Volleyball's Loss to La Verne
The University of Redlands volleyball team battled it out against the visiting Leopards of the University of La Verne on Friday in Currier Gym but suffered a four-set loss to the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) foe. The Bulldogs came out firing in the opening frame, dominating from all areas of the floor for an impressive 25-17 win. However, La Verne rallied back to hold off Redlands by scores of 25-20, 25-23, 25-17.
During the first eight points of the match, the Bulldogs uncorked four kills, three of which came from sophomore middle blocker Maddi Clark (Escondido, CA), and shut down the Leopard attack with impressive blocking. In addition, junior setter Alisha Cornick (Hollister, CA) registered an ace during her long stint at the back line.
Following a timeout and a lineup adjustment by La Verne, the Maroon and Gray continued to impress, extending its lead to 24-12 due to the success of its offense. The Bulldogs utilized a variety of hitters who found the floor on their attacks. Junior outside hitter Morgan Buckner (San Rafael, CA) led the Bulldog onslaught and eventually racked up 10 kills for a clip of .333 on the night.
Despite a late run by the Leopards, Redlands handily captured the opening-set triumph, with senior outside hitter Sam Dodson (Alamogordo, NM) putting the exclamation point on the team's effort with her match-point kill.
However, La Verne was not going to simply disappear.
The second set saw a back-and-forth affair until the Leopards broke an 11-all tie with one of their 12.5 blocks for the night. The Bulldogs continued to fight but struggled offensively and eventually succumbed to their opponents by a score of 20-25.
Redlands remained in the hunt during the third frame as the teams traded punches through long rallies and big plays from all over the court.
With the score tied at 22, La Verne looked to its crafty setter, senior Kendall Kraiss (Huntington Beach, CA), to make a big play when she sent the second ball over the net for a kill.
Not to be outdone, the Maroon and Gray quickly answered with a kill by sophomore right-side hitter Jackie Starks (Long Beach, CA), knotting the score at 23.
But senior outside hitter Randi Taylor-Toomay (Glendora, CA) stepped up for the Leopards, as she crushed one of her match-high 21 kills to make it 24-23. A Bulldog error sent La Verne to the bench with a 2-1 lead in the match.
Unfortunately for Redlands, the momentum stayed with the Leopards, who fired off their best hitting percentage of the night in the fourth set with a mark of .361.
Tied at 13-all, the Leopards gained the lead on a kill by senior middle blocker Catie Logan (Beaverton, OR). The La Verne offense continued to take care of the ball and the Bulldogs never recovered the deficit, leading to the four-set decision.
In addition to her 10 kills, Buckner provided 12 digs and four service aces for the Maroon and Gray. Starks finished with 10 kills as well, along with three assists and two block assists. Junior libero Brittney Overgaag (Palm Desert, CA) provided a match-high 19 digs, while Cornick distributed 32 assists. Clark led the Bulldogs' blocking effort with four block assists.
La Verne (9-1, 2-1 SCIAC) gained 21 kills and five block assists from Taylor-Toomay. Senior middle blocker Kayla Cribbs (Sutter Creek, CA) tallied a match-high seven block assists, while Kraiss dished out 45 assists for the Leopards.
Redlands (4-6, 0-4 SCIAC) looks to get back on track when it hosts Caltech on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in a SCIAC match.