Sagehens Serve Up a Win Over Panthers


A group of female volleyball players jump up and down on the court
The Pomona-Pitzer women’s volleyball team jumps for joy during their game against Chapman University last week. (Photo courtesy of PP Athletics)

The Pomona-Pitzer women’s volleyball team (6-12, 3-3 SCIAC) scored a statement win Saturday at Chapman University, topping their league opponent Panthers (11-5, 5-2 SCIAC) in four sets.

The Sagehens prevailed in a competitive, back-and-forth first set 26-24 before collapsing in an error-ridden second set, which Chapman took 25-9. After that, though, it was smooth sailing for P-P, who dispatched the Panthers – at the time, the No.1 team in the conference – with 25-15 and 25-16 wins in the final two sets.

“Volleyball can be a funny game, so when we battled so hard to win that first set, you can either gain momentum from it or have a letdown,” explained head coach Valerie Townsend in an email to TSL. “Chapman turned that [first set] loss into momentum for their team and came out strong – something I fully expected from them.”

In the third and fourth sets, the Sagehens “focused on minimizing our errors and keeping the ball off the ground,” Townsend wrote. “We got into a rhythm and stayed there to finish the match.”

Opposite hitter Isabel Kelly PO ’20 led the team with 12 kills and three blocks, while middle hitter Vicky-Marie Addo-Ashong PO ’20 chipped in seven kills and two blocks. Setter Jessica Finn PO ’18 aided her teammates with 29 assists, while stalwart defensive specialist Natalie Martin PZ ’18 contributed 18 digs.

P-P had some young stars shine as well – middle hitter Kayla Krilove PZ ’21 scored nine kills and six blocks, and outside hitter Makylee Fruge PZ ’21 had seven kills. That’s not even the extent of the Sagehens’ first-year talent, Townsend said.

“All of our [first-years] are making great strides in practice, pushing their teammates, and I expect to see them breaking onto the court soon,” she wrote.

Though her team is just 6-12, Townsend said tough September matchups at the Pacific Coast Classic, Cal Lu Fornia Invitational, and Trinity University Tournament have set the Sagehens up well for SCIAC success.

“We had a really trying preseason,” Townsend wrote. “Three of the four teams we played in each of our three preseason tournaments were nationally ranked opponents, or at least [received] votes. I knew this level of play would help prepare us for a very tough conference schedule.”

And with the victory over Chapman, it seems Townsend’s scheduling strategy may be paying dividends.

“I have continually told the team that we can do some really good things in conference and this was one of them,” she wrote. “We have continued to improve – on a daily/weekly basis – so I remain optimistic about our potential to take care of business and do some really great things in [the] SCIAC.”

P-P next faces the Occidental Tigers (7-8, 2-4 SCIAC) at home Friday at 7 p.m..

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