The University of Redlands women's volleyball took on the Whittier College Poets in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) action on Tuesday night in Currier Gym. Despite showing great fight and solid depth in the outing, the Bulldogs struggled to close out the sets and ultimately fell by scores of 21-25, 18-25, 22-25.
The first two sets saw Redlands battle neck-and-neck with the Poets, keeping the scores close with tenacious defense and quality kills. In the opener, the Bulldogs rallied back from a 1-4 deficit to tie it up at five apiece, thanks in part to the strong offensive performance of freshman middle hitter Hannah Lanyon (San Diego, CA) and sophomore outside hitter Melanie Fyda (Chicago, IL). In addition, sophomore middle hitter Sofia Olsson (Cupertino, CA) and Fyda capped off the run with a monster block.
The teams traded punches over the next few rallies, with Fyda remaining steady by providing a pair of kills. A slew of errors on both sides of the net led to a 13-all tally before the Poets found a better rhythm to extend their advantage to 20-15. A late kill by sophomore right-side hitter Maloree Kupp (Sunnyside, WA) breathed new life into the home team at 18-20, but it was not enough for the comeback.
During the second stanza, a similar string of events played out, with the back-and-forth showdown continuing through 16-all. After Lanyon's opening kill, the teams were riddled with errors to make it 5-3 for the Bulldogs. Fyda and Lanyon successfully found hardwood for kills as the score remained close.
Following a Whittier timeout at 16-17, the Poets made the necessary adjustments to find a way to stretch their advantage and secure the eventual, two-set lead.
Redlands showed resilience and depth in the third set, as Head Coach Lisa Lindberg mixed things up with a new set of starters, including freshman Marlena Ramanis (Walnut Creek, CA) making her home debut as a setter, while freshman right-side hitter Savannah Casey (Encinitas, CA) played opposite her in the front row.
With refreshed energy, the Bulldogs jumped out to a 5-2 lead, with sophomore setter Emily Marty (Chula Vista, CA) and Casey each putting a ball away for a point. Although Whittier answered with a scoring run, Redlands clawed its way back to eventually tie it up at 21. Relentless defense by senior libero Abigail Hickman (Phoenix, AZ), sophomore defensive specialist Lauren Lux (San Jose, CA), and freshman defensive specialist Ally Busch (Long Beach, CA) set the stage for the Bulldogs' firepower, as sophomore middle hitter Sammi Tafoya (Granite Bay, CA), Olsson, and Casey came up with big-time kills.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, another effective Whittier timeout changed the momentum, as the Poets cruised to the 25-22, clinching victory in the third set.
Fyda led the Maroon and Gray with nine kills, while Lanyon added six. Defensively, Hickman provided 13 digs, as Olsson led the crew with three block assists. Marty dished out 13 assists for the Bulldogs.
Redlands (3-7, 1-4 SCIAC) heads to Cal Lutheran University on Friday, September 29, for a 7 p.m. showdown against the Regals.