Team work makes the dream work — at least that’s the case for Pomona-Pitzer (P-P) women’s volleyball, who continued their winning streak on Oct. 20 against Occidental. The Sagehens tamed the Oxy Tigers on Friday night, sweeping them in three sets to reach a season-high six consecutive victories.
However, the Tigers had their claws out and refused to go down without a fight.
Starting off the first set with high intensity, Oxy dominated the Sagehens, earning themselves a 6-3 lead and forcing P-P onto the defensive. Despite the Sagehens’ scramble to recover, the Tigers held onto their momentum, advancing their lead to 8-5. However, P-P didn’t let them stay comfortable for long.
Kellen Hayes PO ’25, Paige Wilson PO ’24 and Paige Mountanos PO ’26 pumped out multiple kills to earn twelve points and flip the set in their favor. In addition to their offensive prowess, the Sagehens only allowed Oxy to earn one point, running up the score to a 17-9 lead. The Tigers called a timeout in hopes of stopping their opponent’s momentum, but P-P didn’t relent, taking the first set 25-11.
Kylie Mies PO ’26 credited the team chemistry on the court between blockers, setters and hitters for the Sagehens defensive success.
“The blockers were getting some great touches, so then the defense could get there and get the ball up,“ Mies said.
Captain outside hitter Chloe Gill PO ’25 echoed her teammate and also said that chemistry on the court was a main contributor to their success.
“We have a lot of great chemistry and great talent,” Gill said. “I think we play really well together and it’s really fun.”
P-P did not lose their momentum between sets, starting off the second set with an early five point lead. The Tigers, however, matched their energy, putting fans on the edge of their seats. However, the Sagehens surged ahead and locked down defensively, not allowing the Tigers to score more than one point for the rest of the set. Kills from Tene Ariyo PO ’26 and Gill sealed the deal for the Sagehens and the second set ended 25-8 in favor of the Sagehens.
Gill highlighted game plan strategies that the team has been applying, noting the serving skills of her teammate Savanna Cespedes PO ’26, who recorded four aces during the game on Friday night.
“Everyone’s making the right decisions, like tipping it over the block when it’s necessary, or just going in for that kill,” Gill said. “Our serving was really good today as well. Savannah had a lot of aces, which is really cool.”
They went into the third set hoping to get in and get out, but the Tigers did not let up without a fight. Oxy came into the set hyper focused and took an early 8-4 lead. This startled P-P, who called a timeout. Coming out of the break, Oxy maintained their composure and dominance. They were hard to shake and fended off the Hens by keeping their lead deep into the third set. However, the Sagehens got a burst of energy and were able to cover and tie it up at 18-18. After their comeback, the Tigers were unable to regain their lead and the Sagehens finished their meal, ending the set 25-22 and claiming victory.
Following the loss against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) on Sept. 30, Coach Valerie Townsend said the Sagehens have implemented new strategies to improve, which she credits for their recent success.
“We’ve really been working on not being predictable and having a variety of shots, which we saw tonight,” Townsend said. “I think that’s really coming along as we progress through the season.
Gill said that the team’s success is largely due to their victory-focused mentality.
“We all just kind of had a realization that we can win if we put our minds to it and really decided to stick to the game plan,” Gill said.
The three-set sweep against the Tigers was the last game that they played before gearing up to play their Sixth Street rivals CMS for the second time on Saturday, Oct. 21.
“We’re looking at this as another competitor, who we just need to go out and work on our execution and remain disciplined on defense,” Townsend said.
The six-game winning streak didn’t turn into seven after the Sagehens faced the Athenas on Saturday across the street at Roberts Pavilion. The Sagehens will carry out their conference play against Redlands and La Verne next week.