The University of Redlands women's volleyball took on the Pomona-Pitzer Colleges Sagehens in Friday night's Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) match in front of an enthusiastic crowd in Currier Gym. With a high-octane offense that was firing on all cylinders, the Bulldogs halted their recent five-match skid by topping the Sagehens for the first time since October 26, 2012, with tonight's victory coming in four sets, 20-25, 25-18, 25-21, 25-14.
The first set saw back-and-forth action, as each team worked to create momentum amidst an error-filled start to the match. With the score even at 20 apiece, the Sagehens managed five-straight points to secure the opening-set win, 25-20.
Nonetheless, Redlands quickly regrouped by uncorking a hitting percentage of .483 with 18 kills in the second set. With short scoring spurts here and there, the Bulldogs held a slight 13-12 advantage, before sophomore middle hitter Sammi Tafoya (Granite Bay, CA) knocked down a kill off of an assist by sophomore setter Emily Marty (Chula Vista, CA). On the next rotation, junior setter Jackie Andrade (Seattle, WA) effectively kept Tafoya in the mix at the net by immediately connecting with her for a 15-12 Bulldog advantage. With Pomona-Pitzer battling through a few miscues on the floor, the positive points continued for the Maroon and Gray, as Andrade fired off an ace for a 17-12 lead. Sophomore right-side hitter Megan Houston (Normandy Park, WA) and sophomore outside hitter Christina Casey (Sherwood, OR) added to the firepower at the net, which led to a 21-16 advantage for the home team. Pomona-Pitzer continued to cough up the errors, allowing Redlands to build up steam, with Marty finding sophomore outside hitter Melanie Fyda (Chicago, IL) and sophomore right-side hitter Maloree Kupp (Sunnyside, WA) for quality kills to close out the set at 25-18.
The Bulldogs kept their foot on the gas pedal in the third set by roaring out to a 10-4 lead, thanks in part to the squad's blistering offense that clocked in at .343 for the stanza. Fyda and Houston led the charge at the net, while senior libero Abigail Hickman (Phoenix, AZ) stepped it up in the back row. Freshman middle hitter Hannah Lanyon (San Diego, CA) joined the hit parade for the Maroon and Gray to make it 20-13. Redlands' depth came into play, as freshman right-side hitter Savannah Casey (Encinitas, CA) knocked down a kill on her only attempt at 22-15. Although the Sagehens cut the Bulldogs' lead to three points at 20-23, a quick timeout by Head Coach Lisa Lindberg righted the Redlands ship for a pair of well-timed Lanyon kills off Marty's assists to go up two sets to one.
During the fourth set, the Bulldogs turned a five-all tie into a 14-8 lead by taking advantage of the Sagehens' struggles while relying on their prolific attack that included kills by Tafoya, Fyda, and freshman outside hitter Angelina Hughes (Wildomar, CA). In addition, Andrade, Fyda, and Hickman blasted service aces to maintain the team's impressive momentum. From here, Redlands cruised to the finish line with a 25-14 decision that included a kill by freshman outside hitter AJ Jones (Bainbridge Island, WA) late in the set.
Overall, Lanyon led the Maroon and Gray's .248 offensive display with her incredible .591 effort that included 14 kills and only one error. Fyda added 12 kills for a .281 hitting percentage, while C. Casey provided nine kills. Marty dished out 26 assists, while Andrade delivered 20. Defensively, Hickman patrolled the back row with 21 digs and four assists. Freshman defensive specialist Ally Busch (Long Beach, CA) backed her with 10 digs.
Redlands (3-5, 1-2 SCIAC) looks forward to taking on Occidental College on Saturday, September 23, at 6 p.m. in Eagle Rock.