Volleyball rolls Life Pacific in opener

LA VERNE, Calif. —Kelsi Robinson registered 15 kills, freshman Kristen Sanchez excelled as a defensive specialist and the University of La Verne volleyball team cruised past Life Pacific, 25-18, 25-11, 25-8, to open the 2015 season on Tuesday night at Sports Science and Athletic Pavilion.

Robinson was nearly unstoppable. The junior All-American hit .652 without a single attacking error to lead La Verne's attack.

Sanchez, a member of a heralded freshman class, got the nod as the starting libero and did not disappoint as she recorded 17 digs to go along with two aces in her debut.

A pair of other rookies saw their first collegiate action and fared well. Delaney Lynch, a 5-foot-8 outside hitter, dominated the third set with five kills in eight swings. Setter Madison Hickey made a cameo near the end of the match but made a strong impression as she recorded a kill, an assist and a game-ending block assist.

The Warriors hung around in the first set, but the Leopards stepped on the gas in the second set and ran away with the match. The Leopards hit an incredible .538 as a team in the second set and went to on convert at a .419 clip without an error in the final set, keeping Life Pacific on its heels throughout.

La Verne just as good defensively. They closed down nearly every attacking lane and forced the Warriors into committing more errors than kills. The Leopards also recorded six total blocks as a team.

Brittany Yaxley and Cassie Thompson each recorded seven kills and Ashlyn Cross contributed five.

Kaylee Johnson led Life Pacific's attack with eight kills.

The match was a reunion of sorts for the coaching staffs. Life Pacific, in its first year as a program, is coached by Sean Douglas, who was a three-year starter for La Verne men's volleyball team in the late 1990s and was a part of the 1999 NCAA Division III National Championship Team. At the helm of those teams was Jack Coberly, who joined La Verne's staff last year.

The Leopards return to action this weekend at the Pacific Coast Classic. La Verne will host four games over two days, beginning with a tilt against No. 11 Carthage on Friday at 11:15 a.m.

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