LA VERNE, Calif. — Cassie Thompson had eight kills on .500 hitting, Tiffany Mancuso dished out a match-high 24 assists and the University of La Verne volleyball team did just about everything right in a sweep of Endicott on Day 1 of the 2014 Leopard Invitational, 25-15, 25-19, 25-19.
How it happened: La Verne served well, passed well and defended well. Ashlyn Cross led the match with four aces and 13 digs; Kelsi Robinson had 11 kills and five block assists; and Brittany Yaxley was all over the floor with 12 kills, 11 digs and four block assists.
The Leopards fell behind early in every set but rallied and finished strong each time.
In the first set, the Leopards ripped off 11-0 run after going down 9-6 to flip the momentum and take control of the set. Cross had an ace during the stretch and kept the Gulls out of balance with her serves, inducing four attack errors.
Endicott jumped out to an even bigger lead in the second set, but the Leopards unleashed a 10-1 run keyed by a couple of Anna Suarez aces and Thompson kills to take a 14-11 lead. The Gulls then got within a point midway through the set, but the Leopards used two kills from Yaxley and another ace from Cross to go on a 5-0 run and stomped out any shot at a comeback.
With the score knotted at 15-15 in the third set, La Verne had three different players record a kill to run away to a 21-15 lead, effectively putting the match out of reach. Yaxley put down three kills, Destinee Sales pitched in two and Thompson had one during that stretch. Mancuso assisted all six of those kills.
Players of the game: Setters Mancuso and Kailey Faust have been instrumental in orchestrating La Verne's attack this season and this game was no different. The duo combined for 36 assists and helped four different hitters register at least eight kills apiece.
From head coach Jenna Panatier:
On Mancuso and Faust: "They are the ones who are asked to run our offense. Without their expertise and their ability to read the blockers, our hitters would not be as successful as they are."
Up next: The Leopards will play two more non-conference matches tomorrow against Virginia Wesleyan (11 a.m.) and Nazareth (4 p.m.) on Day 2 of the Leopard Invitational. Nazareth beat SCIAC opponents Whittier and Pomona-Pitzer by set scores of 3-0 and 3-1, respectively, on Day 1.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