THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — No. 25 La Verne volleyball team lost the season's rubber match against No. 18 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, 25-16, 26-24, 25-18, and was eliminated from the 2014 SCIAC Postseason Tournament hosted by Cal Lutheran on Thursday night.
What it means: Despite the loss, La Verne stays in contention for an at-large bid to the NCAA National Championships. The Leopards are ranked fifth in the West Region and the SCIAC sent three teams to the national tourney just last year.
Selection show: The NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Selection Show will air at 8 a.m. PT on Monday, November 10 on NCAA.com.
How it happened: In the first set, La Verne dug itself in an early hole and never recovered. The Leopards could not get into any offensive rhythm and had a hard time tracking Claremont-Mudd-Scripps' hitters as the Athenas led by as many as 12 points. La Verne did go on a 5-0 run to get within 20-13, but it was too little, too late. Brittany Yaxley led La Verne with four kills in the set
The Leopards started the second set with more intensity and urgency, but a quick run in the middle of the gave the Athenas just enough cushion as CMS held on for the set win. La Verne took four straight points aided by a Yaxley kill and a Kailey Faust ace to grab an 8-7 lead. But CMS immediately returned the favor with four straight kills to get out to an 11-8 and did not relinquish the lead. The Leopards made a late rally, taking six straight points to tie the set at 24-24, but the Athenas then claimed two straight points to take the set.
A big 7-0 CMS run was the difference in the third set. After the Leopards got within 11-10 on four CMS attack errors, the Athenas used three service aces from Tanner Hoke and a couple of errors by the Leopards to pull away. La Verne took five of the next six points to trim the deficit to 19-15, but that was as close as it would get.
Players of the game: Yaxley led La Verne with 13 kills on .294 hitting and added eight digs.
Cassie Thompson had a match-high seven blocks.
Kerkhof led all players with 15 kills for CMS and Audrey Breitwieser contributed 10.
From head coach Jenna Panatier:
On the team's chances for an at-large bid: "It's not over yet. We still have the potential the make the NCAAs. We'll have practice tomorrow, work on some kinks and hopefully we'll get the nod and go."
On the season the team's had so far: "I'm extremely proud of these women. We were 8-23 last year and we have 20 wins this year with almost the exact same group. For me, this is a big step in the right direction and we have another year with most of these women. If we can sustain what we did this year, there are going to be lots of things going for us next year."Follow La Verne Athletics on Twitter @ULV_Athletics Follow La Verne Athletics on Instagram @ULV_Athletics
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