The University of Redlands women's volleyball team hosted the No. 15 University of La Verne in Saturday afternoon's home and Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) opener in Currier Gym. The Bulldogs came out firing on all cylinders in an impressive first set but could not sustain that momentum and subsequently lost in four, 25-22, 19-25, 16-25, 17-25.
With sophomore setter Emily Marty (Chula Vista, CA) serving to start the match, the Bulldogs put up a pair of points off kills by freshman middle hitter Hannah Lanyon (San Diego, CA) and sophomore right-side hitter Megan Houston (Normandy Park, WA). Redlands stretched its lead to 10-3 with quality rallies ending in its favor, as Houston, sophomore middle hitter Sofia Olsson (Cupertino, CA), and freshman right-side hitter Marlena Ramanis (Walnut Creek, CA) knocked down kills. Junior setter Jackie Andrade (Seattle, WA) served as the Maroon and Gray's ball-distributor and also contributed a service ace during this spurt.
Throughout the first set, Redlands' offense was clicking at a .289 rate, but the defensive efforts of senior libero Abigail Hickman (Phoenix, AZ) and freshman defensive specialist Ally Busch (Long Beach, CA) highlighted the Bulldogs' tenacity on long rallies. In addition, Houston and Lanyon provided a critical block late in the opening set. The momentum stayed with the home team, as sophomore outside hitter Melanie Fyda (Chicago, IL) came up with quality kills. Although the Leopards inched closer with a few short scoring runs, Redlands stayed in front through the final whistle for the 25-22 opening set.
La Verne took the lead early in the second set and kept the Bulldogs at bay to even the match at one apiece. In the third frame, the tight competition continued, as the score became knotted at nine and again at 10. But the Leopard offense heated up to pull away en route to a 25-16 decision and a 2-1 lead in the match.
A similar trend continued in the fourth, with a close battle early on before too many errors forced the Maroon and Gray into a late hole, which ultimately resulted in the four-set loss for the Bulldogs.
Redlands' offense was paced by Fyda with 13 skills and Lanyon with 12. Bush and Hickman combined for 33 digs, while four players provided two or more block assists for the Bulldogs' total of six. Marty dished out 23 assists for the Maroon and Gray.
La Verne (8-1, 2-0 SCIAC) gained a match-high 14 kills from Marisa Rojo.
Redlands (2-4, 0-1 SCIAC) heads to Chapman University on Tuesday, September 19, for a 7 p.m. SCIAC match against the Panthers.