LA VERNE, Calif. — The University of La Verne volleyball team took a four-set win from Chapman on Friday night, 25-15, 25-16, 24-26, 25-17, behind 13 service aces and balanced attack.
How it happened: The Leopards took the first two sets comfortably and looked to be on its way to a second straight 3-0 win.
But the Panthers dug in and won the third set, testing La Verne's mental fortitude.
The Leopards regrouped and responded brilliantly. La Verne rattled off seven consecutive points to take 14-6 lead, temporarily lost focus, letting the Panthers back into the set but showed a killer instinct to claim the match. The Panthers used three kills to cut the deficit to 14-10, but that was as close as they would get as La Verne took advantage of Chapman errors and spread the scoring wealth with kills from five different players the rest of the way.
It was competitive early in the first set as the teams traded points. But the Leopards used an 11-2 burst with contributions from different players to create a separation and took control of the set. Yaxley had five kills in the set, three other players had at least three and the Leopards won the set, 25-15.
The Panthers jumped out to a 9-5 lead to start the second, but the Leopards once again went on a dominating 7-0 run keyed by three Thompson kills to completely flip the momentum in their favor.
Player of the game: Thompson is in the midst of a breakout season and turned in her best attacking performance of her career as she registered a career-high 12 kills to just one error in 25 attempts for .440 kill percentage.
The sophomore has also been solid at the net. She got in on two blocks tonight and is averaging 0.70 blocks per set so far this season.
Home court advantage: The Leopards got a boost from a raucous crowd that featured many of student-athletes including: The La Verne baseball team in full body paint, the men's basketball team in costumes, the men's water polo team in their caps, the softball team. The crowd cheered every kill and stayed loud the entire match.
From head coach Jenna Panatier:
On the third set: "We were definitely up and down in the third set. And one of the things we've been emphasizing is staying on the same bandwidth and taking care of our business without going too high or too low. The third set was more of a roller coaster and that's something we need to work on as we continue SCIAC play.
On the home crowd: "We have the best fans in the SCIAC, bar none. Our teams that come to support us just show what a family La Verne is."
What it means: La Verne improves to 9-2 overall and 4-1 in SCIAC play. The team has already surpassed last season's win total.
Up next: The Leopards will travel to Pasadena to take on Caltech tomorrow at 6 p.m.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