LA VERNE, Calif. — No. 24 La Verne volleyball team lost a hard-fought battle to No. 3 Cal Lutheran, 25-18, 25-22, 25-23, in front of an electric crowd on Thursday night at Frantz Court.
How it happened: Playing in their biggest match of the season, the Leopards looked tentative to start the match. La Verne gave up six of the first seven points in the opening set and the Regals would go on to lead by as many as nine points. The Leopards did close the gap to 19-14 on three straight kills by Cassie Thompson and Brittany Yaxley, but the early hole proved to be too deep to climb out of.
La Verne started the second set with more confidence and intensity, grabbing an early 4-0 lead and keeping Cal Lutheran attack in check. However, the Regals answered with a 6-0 run to wrestle the momentum back and take a three-point lead. La Verne came back and tied it at 13-13 keyed by a pair of Yaxley kills, but Cal Lutheran claimed five of the next six points to seize control and never looked back.
The third set was the closest as neither team led by more than three points at any point. The Regals got out to a 7-4 lead in the set and threatened to run away but the Leopards stayed afloat with a 4-0 run.
The Leopards eventually tied the third set at 22-22 with a kill by Ashlyn Cross and a solo block by Kelsi Robinson, but the momentum was broken by a Cal Lutheran timeout. A La Verne service error and an attack error put the Leopards in a 24-22 hole and that proved to be enough of a separation as the Regals took the set, 25-23.
What it means: La Verne drops to 20-4 overall and 12-3 in SCIAC play while Cal Lutheran (14-1 SCIAC) clinched at least a share of the SCIAC title.
The SCIAC Postseason Tournament matchups are set. La Verne will face Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Thursday in the semifinal. The teams split their season series and both games went all five sets.
Players of the game: Robinson registered six kills in 15 attempts and recorded five total blocks (1 solo, 8 assist).
Anna Suarez came up with a couple of huge digs late in the third set to keep the match alive for the Leopards. The senior had a match-high 12 digs.
Yaxley led the Leopards with nine kills and added three blocks.
Michelle Lawrence put down a match-high 14 kills for the Regals and Dianna Rohrer had 11 kills in 15 attempts.
Up next: The Leopards will wrap up their regular season on the road at Pomona-Pitzer on Saturday at 1 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