Late-Match Rally Falls Short for Bulldog Women's Volleyball on Senior Night against Occidental

Photo credit: Mollie Craighead
Photo credit: Mollie Craighead

The University of Redlands women's volleyball team took on the visiting Tigers of Occidental College on Friday during Senior Night in Currier Gym.  Although the Bulldogs struggled to find their offensive rhythm, they stepped up with seven blocks in the match to keep things interesting.  However, it was not enough for the win, as the Maroon and Gray lost in straight sets, 15-25, 9-25, 22-25.

Prior to the match, the Bulldogs honored senior libero Abigail Hickman (Phoenix, AZ) for her contributions over her four-year career.   She went on to finish the match with a team-high 13 digs.

After the Tigers jumped out to a quick lead in the first set, the Bulldogs rallied to cut it to one off of a kill by sophomore outside Christina Casey (Sherwood, OR) and an Oxy miscue.  The teams traded points over the next few rallies, with sophomore right-side hitter Megan Houston (Normandy Park, WA) and sophomore middle hitter Sofia Olsson (Cupertino, CA) putting up a block.  In addition, freshman outside hitter Savannah Casey (Encinitas, CA) and sophomore right-side hitter Melanie Fyda (Chicago, IL) each knocked down a kill for the Bulldogs.

However, at 11-8, the Tigers pulled away to create a double-digit deficit for the home team.  During the second set, Occidental found its groove and ran away with the efficient win.

The Bulldogs successfully regrouped in the third set by competing with heart and determination through the final whistle.  While facing a 1-3 hole, Redlands gained four-straight points with Olsson at the service line.  The Maroon and Gray stayed in front through 11-8, as Occidental struggled against Redlands' relentless defense that included a well-timed block by Houston and sophomore middle hitter Sammi Tafoya (Granite Bay, CA). 

But the Tigers strung together five successful rallies, forcing Redlands to take a timeout.  This proved to be an effective icing of the Occidental player, who served the ball into the net to make it a one-point score. 

Sophomore setter Emily Marty (Chula Vista, CA) found Olsson on a sweet attack to even the count at 13, before sophomore defensive specialist Lauren Lux (San Jose, CA) sent an ace down the line to put Redlands ahead, 14-13. 

Scrappy play on both sides of the net created long rallies over the next few points, with Casey and Houston providing key kills for the Bulldogs' 18-17 advantage.

Although the Tigers rattled off six-straight points, the Maroon and Gray refused to go away and answered with a 4-1 run of its own.  Houston stayed hot at the net, as she connected with junior setter Jackie Andrade (Seattle, WA) for a kill.  Also during this stretch, sophomore right-side hitter Maloree Kupp (Sunnyside, WA) and Olsson teamed up for a massive block.

Following an Occidental timeout, Redlands flustered the opponents' attack for one final point, making it 24-22 for the Tigers.  But the visiting team managed to close out the match on the ensuing rally.

Olsson provided five of the team's 14 block assists, as Houston paced the Bulldog offense with five kills.

Redlands (6-15, 2-11 SCIAC) travels to Whittier College on Tuesday, October 21, for a 6 p.m. match against the Poets.