LA VERNE, Calif. — Ashlyn Cross tied her career-high with 20 kill to lead the University of La Verne volleyball team past Pomona-Pitzer, 25-19, 25-19, 21-25, 25-23, on Friday night at Sports Science and Athletics Pavilion.
Cross was simply unstoppable. The senior found holes in the Sagehens' defense and put away a kill after big kill. She hit an incredible .528 on 36 attempts and recorded 13 kills for a good measure.
"The coaches helped us a lot with where to hit, where to place the ball," Cross said. "We were definitely attacking their line and our libero (Kristen Sanchez) told me where to hit while I was up and setter (Tiffany Mancuso) just kept putting balls up for me."
Cross exploded after a relatively quiet first set where she had two kills and her lone attack error of the match. She put away seven kills in the second set as she helped fend off the Sagehens and added three more in the third. She turned in her best set in the fourth and final set where she knocked down eight kills, including four down the stretch as the Sagehens made their move to tie the match at two sets apiece. She broke an 18-18 tie with a kill and registered the match point with a cross court kill.
"I knew that I was getting kills but I don't ever want to change my thought process on what I'm doing," Cross said of her approach tonight. "I didn't want to see the stats in between sets and I just kept playing the way I was playing.
Cross' 20 kills were her most since her sophomore year when she had two 20-kill games against Texas-Dallas and Redlands.
The Leopards led wire-to-wire in the first set. La Verne grabbed six of the first seven points of the match and led by as many as nine points in the set. The Sagehens made things interesting with a late 6-2 run but it was too late as Brittany Yaxley and Kelsi Robinson put away consecutive kills to finish off the set.
The second set started much more closely and the Sagehens grabbed a 17-14 lead on a La Verne service error. But the Leopards responded with a 6-2 run aided by a kill each from Cross, Yaxley and Sales to take the lead back.
With the win, La Verne improves to 11-2 overall and 7-1 in SCIAC play. Pomona-Pitzer drops to 7-7 and 3-3.
The Leopards host Caltech tomorrow at 1 p.m. to wrap up the first half of SCIAC action and will take the court again at 6 p.m. against Austin.