LA VERNE, Calif. — The University of La Verne volleyball team got off to a perfect start to the 2014 season as it beat Wheaton (Ill.), Whitworth, St. Scholastica and UC Santa Cruz at the 2014 Pacific Coast Classic on August 29-30.
Returning All-SCIAC outside hitter Brittany Yaxley and sophomore middle blocker Kelsi Robinson were named to the All-Tournament Team as voted on by the coaches after combining for 97 kills and 17 total blocks on the weekend.
Game 1: La Verne 3, Wheaton 0 (August 29)
The Leopards dominated in their first game against Wheaton and won in three straight sets, 25-23, 25-19, 25-13.
On defense, Anna Suarez led the Leopards with 18 digs while Yaxley pitched in 16.
La Verne was in complete control of the net, finishing the game with 38 kills and 10 total blocks, making it nearly impossible for Wheaton to attack.
Wheaton's Shelby Knowles led all players with 15 kills, accounting for exactly half of the Thunder's total output.
Game 2: La Verne 3, Whitworth 1 (August 29)
The Leopards carried over their dominant performance from the first match into their second against Whitworth.
Yaxley was a force all over the floor. She put down 21 kills on 48 attempts, had 22 digs and added 2.5 blocks at the good measure.
Behind Yaxley, the Leopards continued to spread the attack with excellent passing from Tiffany Mancuso and newcomer Kailey Faust. The two setters combined to dish out 49 assists in the match and helped five players recorded at least six kills.
Suarez led the team with 25 digs and Cross had two.
Nicole Leonard and Brenna Bruil led the Pirates with 16 and 14 kills, respectively.
Game 3: La Verne 3, St. Scholastica 1 (August 30)
Kelsi Robinson recorded 5.5 total blocks and the Leopards continued to play dominant defense at the net to beat St. Scholastica, 25-22, 23-25, 25-16, 25-22.
Cooke had three block assists to go along with five kills and 12 digs. Thompson also had three block assists and added seven kills.
Yaxley and Cross paced the Leopards on offense with 22 and 14 kills, respectively.
Game 4: La Verne 3, UCSC 1 (August 30)
After going down a set for the first time this season, the Leopards recovered to beat the Banana Slugs, 17-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-18.
La Verne looked somewhat sluggish in the first set and looked as if it were losing focus towards the end of the frame. After La Verne took a 16-15 lead on a Yaxley kill, UCSC ripped off a 10-1 run to close out the set and looked to be carrying the momentum into the second set.
However, the Leopards regrouped and showed winning resolve. In each of the final three sets, La Verne took early leads and never relinquished them.
Yaxley once agains led all players with 15 kills followed by Thompson with 11. Cross and Robinson recorded nine apiece.
Robinson was a strong presence at the net yet again, recording 3.5 blocks.
The Leopards will get a little breather before traveling to Santa Barbara to take on Westmont on Sept. 6 at 2 p.m.
From the Coach
On what stood out the most: "Blocking. We've been working on blocking a lot and the girls have really bought into the concept of 'you have to start with the small things before the big things.' The more we can keep our energy up the better our defense is. So we're going to have to keep that going."
On Brittany Yaxley: "Yaxley is doing a fantastic job as a junior. She has come in and has decided to be an aggressive force for us."
Takeaway from the tourney: "The more we can keep our energy up the better our defense is. So we're going to have to keep that going. … We also have to work on maintaining the flow and staying away from up-and-down moments"
Audrey Breitwieser Jr OPP (CMS)
Megan Coleman Sr L (CMS)
Maddye Dinsmore Jr S (Whitworth)
Allie Eason Jr OH (Cal Lutheran)
Allie Frappier Sr OH (Pomona-Pitzer)
Shelby Knowles So OH (Wheaton)
Michelle Lawrence So OH (Cal Lutheran)
Shabronda Prox So L (UT Tyler)
Kelsi Robinson So MB (La Verne)
Brittany Yaxley Jr OH (La Verne)Follow La Verne Athletics on Twitter @ULV_Athletics Like La Verne Athletics on Facebook Follow La Verne Athletics on Instagram @ULV_Athletics Sign up for our newsletter