LA VERNE, Calif. — The No. 20 University of La Verne volleyball team beat UC Santa Cruz, 3-0, but lost to No. 2 Juniata, 3-1, at the annual Leopard Invitational on Oct. 9-10.
The Leopards move to 14-3 overall.
Game 1: La Verne 3, UC Santa Cruz 0
Cross served for six straight La Verne points late in the first set. She registered an ace and pitched in a kill during the stretch to give the Leopards a 23-14 lead, and Kelsi Robinson put down the set point.
The Leopards claimed six of the first seven points of the second set and never looked back. The Banana Slugs put together a 5-0 run late in the set but the early deficit was too much to overcome as the Leopards had built a 23-14 lead. Cassie Thompson stopped the UCSC run with a kill and Yaxley put away the set point.
The third and finals set started much the same way as the Leopards jumped out to a 5-0 lead and led wire-to-wire. The Banana Slugs got to within 16-13, but La Verne ran away with a 5-1 run.
Robinson was her usual efficient self, notching nine kills for a .429 hit percentage. She added three blocks.
Game 2: Juniata 3, La Verne 1
La Verne claimed the first set, but perennial powerhouse Juniata hit better every set to beat the Leopards, 20-25, 25-22, 25-20, 25-14 in the final game of the invitational.
La Verne roared out of the gates behind four kills apiece from Robinson and Cross in the first set. Robinson got in on a pair of blocks to lead a 5-0 La Verne run. The Eagles got within 16-15, but the Leopards rattled off three straight points to grab some cushion and effective sealed the set with a late 4-0 run that put them up, 24-17.
Juniata jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the second set but La Verne regrouped, not allowing the Eagles to put any points together on the way to grabbing a 22-19 lead. But then Juniata turned on their jets as it ripped off six consecutive points on five kills and an ace to claim the set.
The teams traded points to start the third set until Juniata put together three straight points to get out to a 18-15 lead and went kill-ace-kill to take the set.
Juniata raced out to a 6-0 lead in the fourth and final set and took 10 of the first 12 points to grab a comfortable lead and never looked back. La Verne did string five straight points together behind three kills from Yaxley, but could not muster much more as it hit just .031.
Yaxley led the Leopards with 11 kills and Cross was right behind with 10.
Robinson had seven kills and six blocks.
Megan Moroney led all players with 17 kills.
Casie Lowden, Whittier
Tiffany Mancuso, La Verne
Megan Moroney, Juniata
Tatum Novitzky, UC Santa Cruz
Kelly Reynolds, Juniata
Kristen Sanchez, La Verne
Rebecca Slattery, Whittier
La Verne resumes SCIAC action on Tuesday when it travels to Whittier.