The University of Redlands women's volleyball team made the short trek to Chapman University for Friday night's Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) opener. While facing a formidable Panther squad, the Bulldogs struggled to find their offensive rhythm and came up short in four sets, 21-25, 16-25, 25-22, 19-25.
During the first frame, the Maroon and Gray faced an early deficit and worked to escape the hole. However, Chapman stretched a four-point advantage to as many as eight late in the set. Nonetheless, Redlands battled to close it out on a 6-2 run but it was not enough.
The Panthers continued to press in the second set and gained an early lead at 4-1. The Bulldogs forced multiple opponent errors while also earning points off kills by sophomore middle blocker Hannah Lanyon (San Diego, CA) and junior outside hitter Melanie Fyda (Chicago, IL) to move within one at 5-6. But Chapman quickly responded to turn the tide and pull away for a two-set lead.
The third set saw a back-and-forth score through 17-all until junior defensive specialist Lauren Lux (San Jose, CA) fired off back-to-back aces for a slight 19-17 Bulldog lead. Lux stayed hot with a kill before first-year outside hitter Paige Davidson (Spanaway, WA) found hardwood for Redlands' 21-18 lead. Although Chapman made it a one-point game, the Maroon and Gray held on for the 25-22 win, as first-year outside hitter Natalie Starlin's (Las Vegas, NV) kill off junior setter Emily Marty's (Chula Vista, CA) assist sealed the deal.
Another tight battle ensued in the fourth frame, but the Panthers broke a 10-all tie with a 5-2 run to provide the difference.
Junior middle blocker Sofia Olsson (Cupertino, CA), Starlin, and Lanyon each knocked down seven kills for the Bulldogs. Olsson, Lanyon, and junior right-side hitter Maloree Kupp (Sunnyside, WA) combined for nine block assists in a solid showing along the net. Marty finished the night with 15 assists, as sophomore defensive specialist Ally Busch (Long Beach, CA) topped the team with 17 digs.
Redlands (6-3, 0-1 SCIAC) returns home to Currier Gym for a 12-noon match on Saturday, September 15, against the Pomona-Pitzer Colleges Sagehens.