The University of Redlands volleyball team opened the 2013 season with a pair of tournament matches at the Pacific Coast Classic in Claremont on Saturday. The Maroon and Gray garnered split results in its two matches, recording a solid sweep of Franklin College (IN) in the opener, before dropping a three-set loss to Benedictine University (IL).
The Bulldogs showed off their young talent with four rookies and four sophomores earning significant time on the floor throughout the two matches.
Redlands posted its first win of the campaign in fine fashion, prevailing over the Grizzlies by scores of 25-17, 25-20, 25-16.
During the first set, the Bulldogs broke an 11-all tie with a kill by freshman right-side hitter Cassy Lematta (West Linn, OR). From here, Redlands took advantage of a Franklin slump before unleashing six kills in the final eight points.
The second frame saw the Maroon and Gray overcome a five-point deficit midway through the scoring, thanks in part to the team's impressive blocking. After Redlands regained the momentum, sophomore middle blocker Marisa Gile (Yucaipa, CA) put down a kill to even the count at 20 apiece, before Lematta fired off four straight aces to carry the Bulldogs to victory.
Redlands jumped out to an early lead in the third stanza with the attacking prowess of Gile and senior outside hitter Morgan Buckner (San Rafael, CA) spearheading a six-point outburst to make it 12-3. With the team uncorking 13 kills in the deciding set, compared to Franklin's six, the Bulldogs cruised to the sweep with relative ease.
Overall, Gile led the Maroon and Gray with 11 kills that came at a clip of .300, while Buckner knocked down 10 kills in the match.
Sophomore libero Karly Burningham (Sonoma, CA) headed up the Bulldog defense with 15 digs, with Buckner adding 11 and senior setter Alisha Cornick (Hollister, CA) providing 10. Cornick also orchestrated the offense with her 28 assists.
Playing in back-to-back matches at the tournament, Redlands faced a tougher opponent in Benedictine and fell to the Eagles in straight sets, 20-25, 21-25, 10-25.
After Benedictine nabbed the opening set, the Bulldogs came out firing in the second, garnering a 15-10 lead with freshman middle blocker Allison Jensen (Redlands, CA) and Buckner leading the offense. However, the Eagles responded to eventually take the two-set lead. The momentum stayed with Benedictine in the third frame, leading to the sweeping loss for Redlands.
Buckner led the Maroon and Gray with 12 kills, with Jensen backing her with nine. Defensively, Burningham provided 15 digs, while the team combined for 14 total blocks. Gile provided five block-assists and Cornick supplied four, to go along with 28 assists.
Redlands (1-1) returns home to the friendly confines of Currier Gym on Tuesday for a non-conference match against Cal State San Marcos at 7 p.m.