Last Friday, the Pomona-Pitzer Volleyball team started conference play on a high note with a dramatic five-set win at Whittier College. Outside hitter Ellen Yamasaki PZ ’15 led the way with 17 kills, and libero Heidi Leonard PO ’12 commanded the defense as the Sagehens enjoyed a 26-dig advantage over Whittier.
After dropping the first set, the Sagehens came back from 14-19 down to tie the match. The teams split the next two sets, but the Sagehens used strong defense and a balanced attack to take the final set, 15-10.
On Tuesday night, the volleyball team lost a tight match to CMS in front of a large, supportive crowd, dropping to three wins and eight losses overall. After taking the first set 25-23 in dramatic fashion, the Sagehens narrowly lost the second set 23-25. The last two sets featured the Sagehens playing from behind after giving up quick leads; they surged at times but were never able to overtake CMS, falling 17-25 and 19-25.
The Sagehens had several outstanding individual performances against CMS but didn’t quite manage to put it all together. Yamasaki achieved 15 kills, but the team was unable to form a consistent attack. Despite Leonard’s 23 digs, CMS enjoyed an 11-dig advantage. Setter Kenzie Aries PZ ’12 was a standout, leading P-P with 40 assists and two service aces.
Consistency was a major issue for the Sagehens in their CMS match. P-P gave up several extended runs and were unable to close the gaps. Errors were a main cause of the holes the Sagehens faced; in their final sets they committed 15 errors, compared with just 7 in the first two sets. Such mistakes led to the lopsided scores of the final two sets.
Captain Jordan Hammond PO ’12, who enjoyed 10 kills, felt that the Sagehens failed to play up to their potential for any extended period of time.
“We were too up-and-down,” Hammond said. “We needed to be better.”
Captain Heidi Leonard agreed.
“We could have played better,” she said.
Both players look forward getting another shot against CMS, who they see as a team that they are definitely capable of beating. Last year, the Sagehens split their season series with the Athenas, and will look to do the same when the two play again in October.
The Sagehens will continue conference play on Friday, hosting Occidental at 7:30 p.m. Occidental is ranked 22nd in the nation among NCAA Division III teams and boasts a record of seven wins and three losses. However, they have lost their only conference game so far to powerhouse Cal Lutheran, currently ranked 15th nationwide. The Sagehens know that they will need to perform at a higher level to grasp another important conference win. The high attendance at the CMS game created a great atmosphere, and a similar level of support is expected as the Sagehens power through future conference matches.