The University of Redlands women's volleyball team squared off against the Banana Slugs of UC Santa Cruz in a non-conference match on Saturday afternoon in Currier Gym. After both teams put together a high-quality, opening set, the Bulldogs maintained their level of play, as the visiting team struggled. With persistence and depth, Redlands topped the Banana Slugs in four sets, 22-25, 25-13, 25-11, 25-17.
During the evenly-matched opening set, the Bulldogs roared out to a 15-11 advantage with their offense firing on all cylinders. Freshman middle hitter Hannah Lanyon (San Diego, CA), sophomore outside hitter Melanie Fyda (Chicago, IL), sophomore right-side hitter Megan Houston (Normandy Park, WA), and sophomore middle hitter Sammi Tafoya (Granite Bay, CA) all connected with sophomore setter Emily Marty (Chula Vista, CA) for kills. The Redlands attack remained hot, as junior setter Jackie Andrade (Seattle, WA) found freshman outside hitter Angelina Hughes (Wildomar, CA) for a pair of put-aways before Marty slyly dished a second contact over the net for the kill to make it 15-11.
However, UCSC managed to stay in the set with solid hitting of its own, eventually tying things up at 17 apiece. A couple of Bulldog miscues allowed the Banana Slugs to eke out the first set by a score of 25-22.
But the subsequent three sets were all Bulldog volleyball, as early leads quickly became sizeable wins with a well-balanced attack and relentless defense. In the second stanza, Redlands' 9-8 advantage efficiently extended with six-consecutive points to make it 14-8. Senior libero Abigail Hickman (Phoenix, AZ) added a kill from the back row, while Fyda found hardwood and later combined with Lanyon for a monster block. Freshman defensive specialist Ally Busch (Long Beach, CA) also fired off an ace for the Maroon and Gray during this stretch.
Three rallies later, the Bulldogs captured six-straight points again, as highlighted by big blocks by Tafoya, Fyda, and Houston.
Redlands continued to roll in the third and fourth sets, as it built early leads and never looked back. Freshman defensive specialist Emily Vankoll (Moraga, CA) entered the match and successfully uncorked nine-consecutive serves while providing quality passing and defense from the back row. Freshman right-side hitter Marlena Ramanis (Walnut Creek, CA) closed out this stellar stanza with one of her eight kills on the match. As a team, the Bulldogs registered an impressive hitting clip of .400 in the third set, with 11 kills and just one error.
The Maroon and Gray sealed the deal in the fourth frame, with sophomore outside hitter Christina Casey (Sherwood, OR) and sophomore right-side hitter Maloree Kupp (Sunnyside, WA) adding to the firepower of the home team. In addition, Hickman and Andrade stepped up with service aces to keep the Banana Slugs off-balanced en route to the Bulldogs' 3-1 victory.
Redlands' stellar defense held UCSC to a .062 hitting percentage, thanks in part to the Bulldogs' eight total blocks and 61 digs. Tafoya registered six block assists, while Hickman paced the team with 22 digs. On offense, Fyda led the squad with nine kills, while Ramanis knocked down eight at a clip of .500. Houston matched her hitting percentage as well with five kills, no errors, and 10 attempts. Marty and Andrade collectively dished out 37 assists.
The Bulldogs (4-8, 1-5 SCIAC) host Caltech on Tuesday, October 3, for a 7 p.m. conference match in Currier Gym.