Suarez reaches 1,000 digs in Volleyball's first loss

Suarez reaches 1,000 digs in Volleyball's first loss

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Anna Suarez recorded her 1,000th dig of her career and Brittany Yaxley had a match-high 23 kills in the 5 set loss to NAIA Westmont College Saturday afternoon at Murchison Gymnasium (21-25, 25-23, 25-21, 21-25, 8-15).

How it happened: After losing the first set and getting down 23-18 in the second, the Leopards ripped off seven unanswered points to get out from behind the eight ball. Brittany Yaxley and Destinee Sales each contributed key points, and the Leopards came up with two huge blocks during the stretch to even the match at 1-1.

La Verne carried the momentum into the third set, in which they did not trail at any point.

Westmont jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the fourth set, and continued the momentum to take the set.

Although La Verne hit well through the first four sets, the Leopards managed only three kills with seven attack errors compared to Westmont's seven kills and two errors in the final set.  A bad set by Westmont's Heidi Thompson brought La Verne within one at 3-2, but the Warriors went on a quick run to take a 7-2 lead, taking control of the set and utlimately the match. 

Ciena Colburn, Taylor Beckman and Mila Maricic each recorded at least 10 kills for Westmont.

Player of the game: Suarez became the eigth Leopard in history (Morgan Donohue '13, Chelsea Sleight '10, Lauren Friestad '06, Amy Kratochvil '04, Brianna Gonzalez '08, Jennifer Stout '04, Katherine Randall '07) to record 1,000 digs with her eighth dig in the match.

Yaxley shouldered the offensive load for the Leopards. The junior outside hitter recorded 23 kills to just eight errors in 52 attempts to go along with 16 digs and two service aces. Yaxley also had a big solo block late in the second set when La Verne stormed back from a five-point deficit to win it.

From head coach Jenna Panatier: "First, I'm so proud of Anna [Suarez].  She's worked hard to reach this incredible milestone.  Additionally, the high level volleyball played today gave us a great opportunity to compete while offering a learning experience for our team. As we prepare for SCIAC play, we will look to minimize our overall errors and maximize our strengths."

What it means: La Verne (4-1) lost its first match of the season, but will use it as a learning experience before it heads into SCIAC play.

Up next: The Leopards will open their conference play on Sept. 13 at home against Pomona-Pitzer at 12 p.m. Later that day, La Verne will also host Colorado College at 6 p.m.

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