The Pomona-Pitzer volleyball team concluded a dominant four-game stretch on Tuesday, Oct. 15, defeating University of La Verne 3-1 at home. From Friday to Tuesday, the Sagehens (13-6, 6-3 SCIAC) swept all opponents with the exception of La Verne in a display of just how strong P-P volleyball is at full strength.
Friday night, P-P played a non-conference match against the Kenyon College Ladies at Voelkel Gymansium. The Hens struggled early and fell behind 13-12 in the first game. With the Ladies still in the lead, Coach Cowan called a timeout, which proved to be just what the Hens needed. After resuming play, the Hens went on a seven-point streak to secure the win. Four kills from Kelli Derrah PO ’17 and two Kirea Mazzolini PO ’15 blocks brought the Hens to a 10-2 lead in the second game, but Kenyon threatened with four kills in a row of their own. A block from Emma Burdekin PO ’16 and Stephanie Sun PO ‘17 tied it at 21. Mazzolini and Derrah earned P-P’s 23rd point with a block, and the Hens won the game on a Ladies attack error.
Not wasting any time, P-P had six kills in their first ten points of the third game. Blocks from the combinations of Derrah, Mazzolini, Sarah Gamble PO ’17, and Lena Fox PO ’17 brought the Hens to a 14-5 lead. Derrah added a pair of kills after that, and Sun had the final kill of the match, giving P-P a 25-13 win.
Saturday brought a double-header for the Hens and also featured the return of Allie Frappier PO ’15, who had been sidelined from the last three matches with an injury. The first match of the day was against SCIAC competitor Whittier. Frappier’s first kill back on the court earned P-P their 5th point of the game, and Michelle Schultz PO ’16 notched an ace bringing the score up to 12-6, prompting a Poets time out. A Frappier-Mazzolini block and kills from Ellen Yamasaki PZ ’15, Derrah, and Frappier stretched P-P’s lead 20-14. Sam Cahill PO ’15 added a kill and block of her own, and Frappier slammed down the last kill to give the first win to the Hens.
Whittier got off to a strong start in the second game, but the Hens battled back to tie it up at 11. Derrah then had a pair of kills to bring the score to 20-16. The Poets pulled closer and tied the game at 23, but Ellen Yamasaki PZ ’17 came through with two clutch kills that notched the game’s final two points.
Frappier had three of P-P’s first four points in the third game, but the score would remain tight. Tied at 13, Schultz added a pair of kills as the Hens went on a seven-point run. Frappier closed out the match with a kill as the Hens completed the sweep.
Frappier opened the non-conference match against the Susquehanna University Crusaders with a pair of kills and Mazzolini served up a pair of aces, bringing the score to 13-5. The Hens kept rolling and eventually a Susquehanna service error gave P-P the first game. Beth Smilkstein PO ’14 opened the game with an ace and Yamasaki and Frappier each added a pair of kills. The Crusaders called a time out, but couldn’t stop the Hens’ momentum. A Cahill-Schultz block brought the score to 22-11, and a pair of Frappier kills clinched the second game. Frappier’s third kill tied the score at four, and sparked a six-point run for the Hens. A Cahill-Yamasaki block brought the score to 19-17, and a Frappier-Mazzolini block completed the sweep, 25-20.
Tuesday night was SCIAC’s Spike Out Breast Cancer night, so Voelkel Gym was covered in pink as P-P took on the University of La Verne Leopards. Frappier and Schultz each added a pair of kills to counter La Verne, giving the Sagehens a 10-7 lead in the first game. A string of Leopard kills put them back on top, and the score remained within one until La Verne took a 21-18 lead. Frappier, Yamasaki, and Schultz added kills in quick succession and Derrah won the game with a final kill.
Yamasaki and Mazzolini blocked a Leopard kill attempt to open the second game. Mazzolini added a kill to even the score at three, Frappier’s kill evened it at four, and ties continued 6-6, 7-7, 8-8, and 9-9. La Verne piled up a few points to take the lead, 15-10, but Mazzolini and Schultz each notched a kill and the Hens pulled within three points. A Yamasaki kill later tied the game up again at 23 and again at 24, then Schultz slammed a kill, putting the Hens in position for game point. The Leopards gained game point through two kills, but two attack errors put P-P back ahead 27-26. However, La Verne recovered and a final kill won the game for the Leos 29-27, breaking the Hen’s 10-game win streak of their last four matches.
Frappier got the third game off to a strong start for the Hens with four kills, spurring a seven-point surge to build a 14-7 lead. Mazzolini added another block, and La Verne slowly crept back to tie it up at 18. A Schultz ace tied it at 21, and the Hens put the game away with a Derrah-Mazzolini block and a Frappier kill.
The Hens jumped out ahead 3-0 in game 4 but La Verne came back to tie it at 7. Schultz and Cahill each added a kill, and a pair of Frappier kills brought the score to 13-9. A Mazzolini-Frappier block was followed by a six-point run by the Hens, including a pair of kills from Yamasaki and an ace from Frappier. The Leopards scraped together four points, but were stopped by a strong Mazzolini kill. Frappier and Derrah each added another kill, and the match was won by an ace from Elizabeth Sun PO ’17.
The La Verne game was the only match of the four that the Hens didn’t sweep their opponent. Frappier returned from injury with a vengeance and needed no adjustment time, with double-digit kills in every match, pushing her average kills per set to 5.81. Smilkstein also continues to impress with double-digit digs in every match, and Derrah set her own career record with 14 kills against Kenyon. The Hens are currently in a four-way tie for second place, but Frappier said that “as long as we keep working hard, we can really be a standout team through the second round of SCIACs.” The Hens will face Whittier College on the road on Friday night.