Redlands Women's Volleyball Fades against Pomona-Pitzer in Five Sets

Sofia Olsson swings on the ball
Photo credit: Sam Keary

The University of Redlands women's volleyball team competed at home in Currier Gym for the first time this season and faced a stubborn Pomona-Pitzer Colleges squad on Saturday afternoon.  Unfortunately, the Bulldogs saw a two-set lead slip away, as the Sagehens completed the comeback in five sets during early Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) action.  Redlands captured wins by scores of 25-21 and 27-25, before Pomona-Pitzer prevailed, 25-15, 25-22, 15-13.

Pomona-Pitzer jumped out to an early lead in the opening set but the Bulldogs refused to go away. Down 15-21, Head Coach Lisa Lindberg called a timeout and inspired her team to rally back with a stellar offense.  Sophomore middle blocker Hannah Lanyon (San Diego, CA) got things started with her solid attack before junior defensive specialist Lauren Lux (San Jose, CA) closed out the set from the service line.  She gained great support from junior outside hitter Melanie Fyda (Chicago, IL), who knocked down three kills in the final few points.  Senior setter Jackie Andrade (West Seattle, WA) orchestrated the attack while also supplying a kill of her own.  The relentless defense kept up the intensity as well, with sophomore libero Ally Busch (Long Beach, CA) covering the back row.

During the second set, Redlands overcame a slow start to eventually take a 10-8 lead.  First-year outside hitter Paige Davidson (Spanaway, WA) stepped back to the service line for key points, as first-year outside hitter Natalie Starlin (Las Vegas, NV) and Ramanis put their shots away early.  In addition, Andrade uncorked a service ace to give the Bulldogs their first lead of the set. Persistence paid off as the Bulldogs stayed hot offensively with additional kills by Fyda and Lanyon off the hands of junior setter Emily Marty (Chula Vista, CA).  Junior middle blocker Sofia Olsson (Cupertino, CA) joined the hit deluge en route to the Maroon and Gray's 18-14 advantage.  Although Pomona-Pitzer managed to tie it up, Redlands looked to Davidson for the well-timed kill before Fyda added another blast to the hardwood.  The hard-fought victory came off a wall of a block by Ramanis and Olsson, as the Bulldogs stole a 27-25 decision for a two-set lead.

However, Pomona-Pitzer found new energy and came out hot in the third set, hitting a remarkable .400, while the Bulldogs struggled to regain their offensive rhythm.

A back-and-forth battle ensued in the fourth frame, with each team having opportunities to close it out.  However, Pomona-Pitzer managed the 20-20 tie a little better than the home team, leading to four earned points in the final five chances. 

With the match now evened at two sets apiece, the tight competition continued into the deciding set.  The Sagehens earned an 8-2 advantage by the time the teams switched sides of the court.  Nonetheless, Redlands continued to battle and eventually forced a tie at 13-all.  The Bulldogs' blocking stepped up, as junior outside hitter Christina Casey (Sherwood, OR) and Lanyon combined forces at the net to make it 5-8.  Fyda and Olsson provided a kill each before Ramanis and Olsson came up with a huge block to make it 11-12.  Casey's final put-away of the day evened the tally before Pomona-Pitzer held on to win the final two points and the match, 15-13.

For Redlands, Fyda paced the team with 13 kills, while Olsson tossed in 12 and Ramanis claimed 11.  Marty dished out 20 assists, as Andrade added 17.  Busch patrolled the back row as the libero with 24 digs, with four other players supplying double-digit digs. 

Pomona-Pitzer gained a match-high 14 kills from Vicky-Marie-Addo-Ashong.  Adrienne Tong distributed 50 assists for the Sagehens (3-6, 1-0 SCIAC).

Redlands (6-4, 0-2 SCIAC) heads to Cal Lutheran University on Tuesday, September 18, for a 7 p.m. SCIAC match against the Regals.