P-P Splits League Matches
Will Howard | Sept. 27, 2014, 4:51 a.m.
Pomona-Pitzer women’s volleyball swept Whittier College in straight sets Sept. 19 at Voelkel Gymnasium for their first SCIAC victory. However, the Sagehens (7-5, 1-2 SCIAC) were unable to pull off a win against California Lutheran University the following day in Thousand Oaks, falling three sets to one.
Against Whittier, the Hens looked as though they would not clinch the first set. The Poets had three set points, starting at 24-21, but outside hitter Ellen Yamasaki PZ '14 delivered a hard-hit kill to gain the momentum her team needed. Following the advice of a fan that shouted, “Come on Hens! It’s time to fly together!” the team went on a run.
After two unforced errors from the Poets brought the score to 24-24, All-American outside hitter Allie Frappier PO '15 had a crucial kill. Frappier and Samantha Cahill PO ’15 put up a seamless block on the next point to win the first set 26-24. Head coach Valerie Cowan pumped her fist, the players and fans rejoiced—it was obvious that the Hens were playing to win.
P-P led Whittier for most of the second set and finished strong in the third set, winning 25-12 against a visibly discouraged and drained Whittier team. The Hens’ mix of well-placed hits and hard-to-read tips, along with well-timed blocks and flawless digs, was a sight to behold. Frappier led the Hens with 16 kills, while Cahill led the team’s front row defense with four blocks. Libero Michelle Schultz PO ’16 led the team in both digs (10) and aces (two).
“We rallied back at the end, and it turned out to be a really fun game,” Schultz said.
The Hens didn't enjoy the same success against Cal Lutheran, losing 3-1 on the Regals’ home court. Despite the loss, the team showed an astounding offensive as well as defensive game from Frappier, who posted a game-high 25 kills and 25 digs.
Frappier, a transfer from Yale University, is in her second season with the Hens. Last season, she set the school record for kills in a match (40) and is ranked second in all-time kills in a season in P-P history. She also led the nation (in all divisions) in kills-per-set with 5.96, almost a full kill more than anyone else in Division III.
The Sagehens started off losing the first set 25-15 to a confident Cal Lutheran, riding in the wake of a recent tournament victory and climbing to number three in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) DIII rankings. However, the Hens were able to rally in the second set, reversing the outcome of the first with a 25-15 win.
After letting down their guard, the Regals came back strong in the third set winning 25-21 and carried this energy into the fourth and final set with a score of 25-17. Outside hitter Michelle Lawrence led the Regals with 22 kills and five blocks.
“We still need to work on our consistency and grinding through the longer games,” setter Jessica Finn PO ’18 said. “Cal Lu is a great team. It was a good battle, but our mental toughness wasn’t quite where it needed to be. It was still a really good learning experience.”
Echoing her teammate’s sentiments, Schultz said that they let Cal Lutheran go on too many runs.
"Cal Lu’s not a team that you can just sleep on because they attack quickly," Shultz said. "It’ll be a much different game next time.”
The Sagehens hope to improve their record today, Sept. 26 at 7:30 p.m. when they face Occidental College in the Voelkel Gymnasium. Tomorrow, P-P will take on Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the much anticipated Sixth Street rivalry game. The Hens will make the short trip up to Linde Activities Center on Harvey Mudd's campus to face the Athenas (12-3, 3-0 SCIAC) in a battle between two of the top teams in the SCIAC.
Shultz added that the fans definitely play a role in how the team plays, encouraging attendance at today's rival game.
“People should come to our games because we love our fans, and they won’t be disappointed!” Schultz said.