Sagehens Drop Two at La Verne, Refocus Game Plan

After a third-place finish in the SCIAC Championships and an appearance at NCAA
Regionals in the 2013 season, Pomona-Pitzer women’s volleyball came back to Claremont
ready to carry their positive momentum into the new season. 

The team has
participated in two tournaments, the Pacific Coast Classic and the Posada Royale Invitational, since arriving back on campus on Aug. 15. With solid experience garnered from playing in early-season tournaments, the Hens headed into their games on Sept. 13 with a 6-2 record. 

The Hens brought in first-years Jessica
Finn PO ’18, Natalie Martin PZ ’18 and Kate Porter PO ’18 this season, effectively rounding out their roster. According to
Michelle Schultz PO ’16, the first-year class brings a
refreshing contribution. 

“Besides being great athletes in
general, the freshman class brings a new enthusiasm that you may forget as you
get older,” Schultz said. “Everything is new for them, and they’re excited about it,
which gets the team more excited about the sport.”

Schultz explained the incoming class has also given the team
an opportunity to improve their understanding of the game. By teaching the first-years strategy, returning
players have been able to understand the game in a more intricate and developed
way. 

“You definitely learn more as you teach, which is a nice
benefit,” Schultz said. 

On Sept. 13, the team travelled to the University of La Verne
for their SCIAC opener, facing both the Leopards and No. 6 Colorado College. Despite accumulating preseason momentum, the team couldn’t manage to pull off a win in either game. The team fell in a pair of 3-0 decisions to La Verne and Colorado.

In her usual style, Allie Frappier PO ’15 led the team in
kills, with 15 against La Verne and 10 against Colorado College. Schultz, who
is playing Libero this season, led the team with 25 digs against Colorado, while Frappier led with 19 digs against La Verne. With the pair of losses, P-P fell to 6-4 on the
season and 0-1 in SCIAC.

While volleyball might be perceived to be primarily physical, the mental aspect of volleyball is more important than many people might think. Schultz attributed the rocky weekend to the team’s struggle to maintain mental focus. 

“We need to be working for consistency
not only in physical play, but also in how we approach the game mentally,” Schultz said. “We need to have more confidence in ourselves and our
teammates to get the job done and get some more wins on the board.”

Though the Hens built momentum and intensity throughout the course of the match, it became too late for their advances to sway the score. 

“We started off on a bad mental note at the first point,” Schultz said. “So that’s something we’re going to be
working a lot more in practice as the season progresses. The mental game has a
huge impact on our outcome.”

However, one of the highlights of the weekend was having
fans supporting the team from the stand at an away game. 

“Energy and momentum is a really big part of volleyball, so
when you have your teammates cheering you on it’s really awesome,
but when you have an entire gym full of fans, it’s even better,” Schultz said. “It makes the game more exciting for us and for the fans.”

Despite a varied beginning to the season, P-P is confident that it will be able to improve over the season. 

“It’s still early in the season, but I think that we
have a lot of potential to be really great,” Schultz said. “We’re definitely all
on the same page about where we want to be and how much we want to win. We want
it really badly, and hopefully that translates into more wins on the board.”

The Sagehens are back in action in their third league match on Saturday, Sept. 20, at 6 p.m. at California Lutheran University.

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