The University of Redlands women's volleyball team took on the Cal Lutheran University Regals in a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) match on Sunday afternoon in Currier Gym. The Bulldogs stretched the Regals to four sets, with the first two being very close, but ultimately fell by scores of 22-25 25-23, 15-25, 9-25.
During the opening set, Redlands stormed out to a 7-1 lead off of crafty kills by first-year outside hitter Natalie Starlin (Las Vegas, NV), first-year setter Tati Luevano (San Pablo, CA), and junior right-side hitter Maloree Kupp (Sunnyside, WA). In addition, Starlin's tough serving produced two aces during this spurt.
The Bulldogs maintained the momentum with impressive defense from sophomore libero Ally Busch (Long Beach, CA), junior outside hitter Christina Casey (Sherwood, OR), and Starlin, and stayed in front through 18-12. With the offense firing on all cylinders as well, junior setter Emily Marty (Chula Vista, CA) caught the Regal defense off guard with a sneaky kill before Casey and Kupp found hardwood for timely putaways to force a CLU timeout.
However, the quick meeting allowed the Regals to adjust and subsequently rattle off six straight points to even the tally at 18-all.
From here, the teams traded points off incredible rallies, but a short CLU run provided the edge for the visiting team to snag the opening set.
Not to be deterred, the Bulldogs fought back in the second set and earned an early 3-1 advantage, with sophomore middle blocker Hannah Lanyon's (San Diego, CA) kill capping off the solid start.
A back-and-forth battle ensued that resulted in multiple ties and additional outstanding points that included miraculous saves and persistent effort on both sides of the net.
Down 15-20, the Maroon and Gray slowly regained the momentum, as CLU made multiple errors. In addition, first-year outside hitter Paige Davidson (Spanaway, WA) dropped in a service ace and Marty found Starlin for important kills. After Lanyon knocked down a kill, junior defensive specialist Lauren Lux (San Jose, CA) fired off a service ace to inspire another CLU timeout. From here, Luevano dished out back-to-back assists on Davidson's set-winning kills for the Bulldogs' 25-23 victory.
Unfortunately, the tables turned in the remaining two sets, as CLU gained early leads and never looked back.
Starlin led the Bulldogs with 14 kills, while Luevano distributed 27 assists. Busch continued to patrol the back row for the Maroon and Gray by earning 20 digs.
Redlands (11-11, 2-8 SCIAC) heads to the University of La Verne on Tuesday, October 16, for a 7 p.m. conference contest.