Feathers went flying and whimpers echoed throughout Voelkel Gymnasium as the Sagehens put the Bulldogs through puppy-training and then slammed their crate shut in a decisive 3-1 victory against Redlands.
On Tuesday, Oct. 24, the Pomona-Pitzer (P-P) women’s volleyball team took on the Redlands Bulldogs in one of the last regular season games of the fall, defeating them three sets to one.
The Sagehens got off to a rough start, going down 7-2 early in the first set, but managed to come back from the early deficit.
Kills from Chloe Gill PO ’25 and Samantha Grabb PO ’27 helped level the score to 8-6. When an ace from Emily Bunnell PZ ’24 brought the Sagehens within one, Redlands rallied, landing several aces and extending their lead to 12-9.
But the Hens turned it around when a block from Paige Mountanos PO ’26 tied the score at 12-12. The teams traded points, and a kill from Charlotte Sekerka PO ’27 gave P-P its first lead of the game. A sit-down block from Sekerka grew P-P’s lead to 21-17. The Sagehens went on to win the set 25-19.
Grabb said she was pleased with her team’s ability to come back from trailing and win the first set.
“I think that it’s very important that when you don’t feel as comfortable out there that you are able to push past that and still get points,” Grabb said.
P-P began the second set in the same way they did the first. A trick set gave Redlands the 4-1 lead and their subsequent ace extended their advantage to 5-1. Still, P-P rallied, and a kill from Paige Mountanos PO ’26 cut the Redlands lead to 6-4, putting the Hens right back in it.
A double-handed hit from Redlands was called for an error, giving P-P a 12-11 lead. The Hens kept the pressure on and a kill by Kellan Hayes PO ’25 made the score 16-13. The set ended with a kill from Grabb, and the Sagehens won the second set 25-22.
Hayes was proud of the team’s ability to persist and execute when it mattered after starting their first two sets down.
“I think we pushed through when we maybe weren’t playing our best,” Hayes said. “We did our job.”
The third set started with points flying back and forth between the teams, resulting in the score tying up multiple times. The Bulldogs went up 8-6, but back-to-back kills from Paige Wilson PO ’24 and Hayes leveled the score.
However, P-P could not match their energy, allowing Redlands to take a 14-8 lead. P-P immediately called for a timeout. However, Redlands kept up the pressure and an ace made the score 15-8. Another ace increased their lead to 20-14, after which P-P called another timeout. Corina Benson PO ’27 said she felt the timeouts were helpful for the team.
“I felt that we had meaningful communication in the huddles between points,” Benson said.
Returning from the break, the Sagehens began their comeback. An ace from Benson gave P-P some momentum and narrowed the gap to 21-17. Continuing with their burst of energy, a kill followed by a block from Hayes made it a two-point game 22-20 in favor of Redlands. Yet another kill from Hayes tied it up 22-22, giving the Sagehen their first glimpse of hope in the third set. However, the Sagehens’ push was not enough and Redlands ultimately took the third set 28-26.
The fourth set started evenly, with the teams exchanging points back and forth. However, P-P was able to pull ahead and lead 12-7, causing the Bulldogs to call for a time-out. Despite their time to regroup, Redlands could not match the Sagehens’ energy, and after the break, P-P extended their lead to 19-13 with a kill from Grabb and a sit-down block by Hayes. They kept their advantage for the remainder of the set and won the set 25-20, ending in the game with a Sagehen victory.
Although she was excited about the win, Hayes remained focused on finishing the season strong and continuing to improve to the end.
“I think we need to work on our consistency,” Hayes said. “We have the team chemistry. It’s just a matter of always showing up and always playing at the high level that we are capable of playing at.”
This game pushed P-P’s conference record to 10-3, maintaining their third place position in the SCIAC. The Sagehens will be back in action on Saturday, Oct. 28 at La Verne.