The Whittier College Volleyball team lost in three close sets to the Leos of University of La Verne on Sept. 16.
The matchup was Whittier’s eleventh game of the season but only their second SCIAC game. The loss put Whittier at 0-2 in conference play, with an overall record of 2-9.
After going 25-21 back to back in the first two sets, the Poets fell short in the third final set, going 25-20.
Despite taking an early 9-4 lead in the third set, the Poets were unable to pull off a win that would have pushed the game into a fourth set.
“I was pleased; I thought we stuck with the game plan for the most part,” Head Coach Chris Duarte-McDermott said when asked about his team’s performance against the Leos. “When we deviated for a little bit, that was when we started to get into those ruts for a couple of runs and points.”
Keeping the sets close, the Poets forced the Leos to fight for every point. It was senior outside hitter Casie Lowden’s first game back— after coming off an ankle injury — she had three straight kills early in the first set. Lowden finished with a total of four kills within the three sets.
Junior opposite Olive Anagu led the Poets in kills, earning a total of seven throughout the three sets. Returning this year for her fourth and final season with the Poets, opposite player Becky Slattery contributed four kills for the Poets. First-year opposite Aubrey Caires also had four kills, while senior setter Jasmine Tong, junior middle Alexis Mills and first-year middle Alaina Rhee all earned two kills each.
“It was just a battle of errors,” Coach Duarte-McDermott said in regards to the close sets. “We had to manage our errors a little bit better and I think it’s a different ball game if we can do that. But I think we challenged them.”
After losing in four sets to Pomona-Pitzer on Sept. 20, the Poets record then went to 0-3 in conference and 2-10 overall.
“We’re starting to see some really good glimpses of brilliance with our younger girls,” Coach Duarte-McDermott said. “Our returners are really coming together to settle in. I’m excited, you know, we have a lot of youth on the floor, we have girls in new roles and we’re competing at a high level with a very talented team. I can only see us going up from here as time goes on.”
The Poets continue with conference play as they face the California Institute of Technology(CalTech)Friday Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. Their next home game will be against the University of Redlands Tuesday Sept. 27 at 7 p.m.