REDLANDS, Calif. — It took one long, intense duel.
But the University of La Verne volleyball team staved off six set points in a marathon third set to close the door on Redlands, 25-15, 25-19, 34-32, on Tuesday night at Currier Gymnasium.
The final score of 3-0 won't indicate the intensity of the battle as both teams hustled and dove all over the court in the final set. The Bulldogs ramped up the pressure in the third, putting the Leopards on the heels, and saved three match points of its own.
But it was La Verne who held the final advantage in the form of superstar Brittany Yaxley, who delivered when it mattered the most. The All-American saved a 27-26 set point with a kill and put away another in the following rally to set the Leopards up with a match point. And the senior eventually knocked down the match point to give the Leopards their sixth win in a row. Yaxley finished the match with 13 kills, five aces and four digs.
Redlands used a 6-1 run to grab a 16-12 lead midway through the third set. The Leopards countered with a 10-1 run led by three aces and a couple of kills by Yaxley to get out to a 22-17 lead. But the Bulldogs had one final run in them as Kailee McCoy and Kaylee Burdick combined for three kills to lead a 7-1 run that pushed La Verne to the edge.
La Verne cruised through the first two sets. The Leopards hit a red-hot .565 in the first set and closed it with a 6-0 run to stake out to an early advantage. In the second, the Leopards took eight of the set's first 11 points and never looked back.
The Leopards, who checked into the American Volleyball Coaches Association Top 25 this week at No. 23, improves to 10-2 overall and 6-1 in the SCIAC. Redlands falls to 5-7 and 1-4.
Robinson had another highly efficient match, finishing with 11 kills in 17 attempts while blocking four. Kristen Sanchez had 14 digs and Tiffany Mancuso gave out 28 assists, each of which was a game-high.
McCoy led the Bulldogs with 10 kills.
The Leopards return to action on Friday when it hosts Pomona-Pitzer. First serve is at 7:30 p.m.