The University of Redlands women's volleyball team made the short trek to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges on Saturday afternoon for a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) showdown against the No. 5 Athenas. Despite close starts to the sets, the Bulldogs struggled to counter CMS' effective offense in a 20-25, 11-25, 17-25 loss.
Redlands came out firing in the opening set, as junior right-side hitter Maloree Kupp (Sunnyside, WA) and junior outside hitter Christina Casey (Sherwood, OR) each found hardwood in back-to-back rallies.
However, the Athenas rallied off a pair of three-point runs to take a 6-3 lead.
Among the high-quality exchanges, the teams traded points with kill after kill, while the Bulldogs also tossed in a key block by Kupp and junior middle blocker Sofia Olsson (Cupertino, CA). First-year outside hitter Natalie Starlin's (Las Vegas, NV) ace evened the tally at eight-all, before sophomore right-side hitter Marlena Ramanis' (Walnut Creek, CA) put-away moved the Maroon and Gray back in front. Another Starlin ace extended the visiting team's advantage to 10-8, but CMS quickly regrouped to unleash six consecutive points.
From here, the Bulldogs worked to tie it up at 16 by forcing the Athenas out of system for multiple errors.
Nonetheless, CMS managed to break the tie and eventually haul in the opening-set win.
During the second set, the Athenas continued to roll with a .333 hitting percentage, which allowed them to snag the early lead and never look back.
The final frame saw the Maroon and Gray fight to keep it close off kills by junior defensive specialist Lauren Lux (San Jose, CA), Olsson, and sophomore defensive specialist Ally Busch (Long Beach, CA), as well as a big block by Kupp and sophomore middle blocker Hannah Lanyon (San Diego, CA).
Redlands maintained its momentum en route to a 9-6 lead with first-year outside hitter Paige Davidson (Spanaway, WA) at the service line.
Eventually, CMS forced an 11-all tie, which put the pressure on the Bulldogs, who struggled offensively until Olsson's solo block changed the tide. Late kills by Davidson, Lanyon, and Casey provided key points in the final efforts of the Maroon and Gray but it was not enough.
Casey paced the Redlands offense with seven kills, while first-year setter Tati Luevano (San Pablo, CA) dished out 10 assists.
CMS' Amanda Walker knocked down 15 kills.
Redlands (6-7, 0-5 SCIAC) strives to return to the win column on Friday, September 28, when it hosts Caltech in a 7 p.m. SCIAC match in Currier Gym.