The University of Redlands women's volleyball team took the short trip to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges on Thursday evening for a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) match against the eighth-ranked Athenas. Despite a great defensive effort that included eight total blocks, the Bulldogs fell short of the upset in a straight-set decision, 14-25, 23-25, 19-25.
Redlands struggled against the highly-efficient attack of the home team in the first set, resulting in an early deficit and the eventual 14-25 loss.
However, the Bulldogs made the necessary adjustments in the second stanza and held the Athenas to a measly .047 hitting percentage. After trailing early, the Maroon and Gray responded with a kill by sophomore outside hitter Melanie Fyda (Chicago, IL) from sophomore setter Emily Marty (Chula Vista, CA). Fyda and sophomore middle hitter Sofia Olsson (Cupertino, CA) combined efforts at the net for a formidable block to make it 4-4. Redlands put together a 5-2 run to create a small 9-6 lead, as sophomore right-side hitter Megan Houston (Normandy Park, WA) fired off a pair of kills to bookend the scoring spurt.
The teams traded small streaks of points, with Redlands' blocking efforts of Fyda and freshman middle hitter Hannah Lanyon (San Diego, CA) providing key plays. The Bulldogs remained in front at 15-11 and forced the CMS head coach to call a timeout.
Although the Athenas soon cut the deficit to one, the Bulldogs kept their focus and earned points off of a tenacious defense that was led by senior libero Abigail Hickman (Phoenix, AZ). She gained great support from the effective attack of sophomore outside hitter Christina Casey (Sherwood, OR), Olsson, and Fyda.
Now up 20-15, Redlands tasted the win but CMS refused to go away. A string of errors by the visiting squad coupled with a hot streak at the net by the Athenas led to the heartbreaking 23-25 loss for the Bulldogs.
Now down by two sets, Redlands faced a must-win situation in the third. The team kept it close through 16-17, thanks in part to the crafty kills by Marty and freshman outside hitter Angelina Hughes (Wildomar, CA). However, CMS answered with a pair of scoring runs that proved too much for the Bulldogs to overcome.
Fyda and Houston led the Bulldogs with six kills apiece, while Hughes added four. Hickman supplied 16 digs, as Fyda and Lanyon combined for 10 block assists.
Redlands (5-9, 2-6 SCIAC) faces a pair of non-conference opponents on Saturday, October 7, in Currier Gym. The Bulldogs take on Mills College at 11 a.m. before hosting Vanguard University at 2 p.m.