The University of Redlands women's volleyball competed at home for the final time this season by taking on the Cal Lutheran University Regals in Tuesday night's Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) match in Currier Gym. While mixing up the lineup and utilizing 15 players, the Bulldogs stretched the visitors to four sets in a stellar effort to avoid the sweep, which resulted in scores of 14-25, 12-25, 25-20, 17-25.
After Cal Lutheran cruised to victories in the first two stanzas, Redlands faced a must-win situation to extend the match. The Regals worked their way to a 15-10 lead before sophomore middle hitter Sofia Olsson (Cupertino, CA) found hardwood to initiate the change in momentum for the Maroon and Gray. Sophomore setter Emily Marty (Chula Vista, CA) continued the rally with an ace while a CLU error and a monster block by sophomore right-side hitter Megan Houston (Normandy Park, WA) and Olsson moved Redlands within one point at 14-15. Another Marty ace and Olsson kill gave the Bulldogs a 16-15 advantage.
From here, the Bulldogs' relentless defense by freshman libero Emily Vankoll (Moraga, CA) and freshman defensive specialist Ally Busch (Long Beach, CA) pushed the Regals into multiple errors over the back-and-forth play. Sophomore outside hitter Paige McLeod (Redlands, CA) added to the team's success with a well-timed kill for Redlands' 19-16 lead before back-to-back CLU miscues forced the visiting team to take a timeout. The second of these errors came off the wall of a block by sophomore middle hitter Sammi Tafoya (Granite Bay, CA) and sophomore outside hitter Melanie Fyda (Chicago, IL).
The Regal errors continued to pile up as the Bulldogs stayed determined throughout ridiculous rallies, with Fyda and McLeod slamming down kills en route to the 25-20 decision for the home team.
With hopes of extending the match a second time, Redlands battled in the fourth set but an early deficit demanded that the Maroon and Gray play catch-up at 1-5.
As CLU stayed in front, the Bulldogs worked to cut a seven-point hole into four at 14-17 off of Olsson and Houston's block, Busch's back-to-back aces, and Houston's kill. This led to another CLU timeout, but the Regals made the necessary adjustments to hold off any chance of another Bulldog comeback.
Fyda led the Maroon and Gray with 10 kills, while Olsson fired off eight kills at a clip of .429. Marty dished out 17 assists, as Busch and Vankoll combined for 26 digs.
Redlands (6-17, 2-13 SCIAC) heads to Pasadena on Saturday, October 28, for an 11 a.m. conference match against the Caltech Beavers before taking on Life Pacific College in non-conference action at 1 p.m.