It was another win but differrent ending for the volleyball team as it purred by the visiting Chapman Panthers Tuesday night at Frantz Athletic Court.
The ending reflect a milestone as senior outside hitter Brianna Gonzales regestiered her 1,000th kill of her career.
But don’t tell her that.
“I didn’t realize what was going on,” Gonzales said. “I didn’t know I was at that number.”
With the win over the Panthers, La Verne improved their overall record to 11-0. Gonzales cites her team that contibuted to her milestone.
“It reflects my team and how great we play together,” Gonzales said. “We just trying to stay persistant and at a high level.”
On Tuesday, the Leopards faced Occidental at home.
It was a slow night for the Leopards, but after a dismal start, La Verne was able to pull away for its tenth win of the season.
“We didn’t play to our best,” junior middle blocker Ashley Morgado said. “We were really quiet this game.”
“We didn’t play to our full potential,” sophomore Chelsea Sleight added.
The Leopards saw their lead go up to 13-11 in the first game against the Tigers. Occidental was able to roar back into the game tying it, 14-14.
Behind sophomore outside hitter Rebecca Villanueva and junior middle blocker Crista Jones, La Verne was able to pull ahead to win 25-17.
“They’re a good scrappy team, and we haven’t played a real scrappy team yet,” Morgado said about the Tigers after the game. “They had nothing to lose,” Sleight said after the game.
The Leopards started the second game 7-3 and were able to keep a small distance from the Tigers. ULV pulled ahead to win 25-15.
The Tigers started off the third game with excitement but the Leopards did not let that deter them. La Verne increased their lead to 22-16, following a kill by Gonzales. La Verne won, 25-18.
La Verne was able to take advantage of their hitters when they were on the floor.
“We did a good job at servicing, and our hitters were able to put it away,” Sleight said.
Gonzales registered 14 kills for the Leopards, while Jones added seven. Sleight added 13 digs for the Leopards.
La Verne also took “one point at a time,” as the volleyball team was able to quietly bulldoze Redlands last Friday at home.
Redlands, which played La Verne in the Puget Sound Premier Invitational, kept it close for the first game on Friday, but the Leopards were able to focus on the fundamentals to improve their record.
“The thing with Redlands is they’re always a good, competitive team,” Morgado said.
“Everyone did a really good job establishing the way we need to play,” sophomore Anna Calmer said.
La Verne jumped up early in the first game to an 11-5 lead. The Leopards extended the lead to 20-12. But the Bulldogs came roaring back to make it 20-19.
Sparked by Villanueva and Gonzales, the Leopards pulled to victory, 25-21. “We got a little nervous and bottled up,” Morgado said. “Redlands always finds a way to get in.”
The second game saw a different start where both teams kept exchanging points. La Verne pulled away 20-10 lead after a kill by Villanueva. La Verne won the game, 25-12.
“We just kept our rhythm and pushed ourselves to keep going,” Calmer said.
Redlands looked tired and La Verne took advantage of it in the tird game by creating a 19-9 lead after a roaring face plant by Morgado.
“Anytime you get a really good kill, it fires us up,” Morgado said about her kill.
While the Bulldogs tried to surge back, it was too late, as the Leopards won, 25-15. La Verne also worked well as a team posting a higher hitting percentage than Redlands.
Gonzales led the match with 13 kills and added 11 digs. Sophomore setter Yesenia Lopez led the Leopards with 16 digs. Villanueva added 10 digs and five kills while Sleight added 14 digs.
La Verne plays again tonight, traveling to Pomona-Pitzer. “Our first goal is to win SCIAC,” Morgado said. “We need to take care of us first.”
“We need to not get down on their level of play,” Calmer said. “We need to keep our cool and take care of our 30 by 30.”
Jonathan Smith can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.