The “sevens” battle it out as Courtney Rollins from the University of La Verne breaks through the block attempted by Regal Bailey Surratt. La Verne defeated Cal Lutheran in a three-game sweep on Tuesday at the Rains Center in Claremont. Rollins finished off the last match with a kill to give Cal Lutheran its first loss of the season. The win also earned La Verne a berth in the NCAA Division III Western Regional Tournament in Spokane, Wash., this weekend and their sixth consecutive SCIAC championship.
The women’s volleyball team earned an automatic bid to the NCAA West Regionals after sweeping No. 14 Cal Lutheran Saturday in Whittier.
The Leopards previously swept the Regals the previous Thursday at Pomona-Pitzer in Claremont putting them in position for Saturday’s game.
With the victory on Saturday, ULV earned their sixth consecutive Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship and the No. 1 seed in the West Regional tournament to be held Nov. 10-13 in Spokane, Wash.
After the Regals handed La Verne their only SCIAC glitch of the season on Oct. 7, the Leopards showed no mercy as they displayed clear dominance in both of the matches.
“It’s great to establish ourselves as the top team in the west region after a strong showing in the second half of the season,” head coach Don Flora said. “Now we will try to reach our next goal by capturing the West Regional championship.”
The sweeps over previously unbeaten Cal Lu showed the SCIAC and the rest of Div. III that ULV still is a favorite to make it to their third consecutive Final Four. ULV also ran their winning streak to eight matches, the last seven coming as three-game sweeps.
“We’re playing great right now,” junior Lauren Friestad said. “If we continue to play hard as a team we will do fine in regionals.”
The Leopards used a strong team performance last Thursday at the Rains Center to defeat the Regals. Cal Lu came close in the second game of the match, but a 5-1 run gave ULV complete control over the match.
Freshman outside hitter Brianna Gonzales led the attack with nine kills while senior outside hitter Megan Powers and sophomore opposite Jodi Lindsay added seven and six respectively.
“We played really well against a good team,” junior Lauren Friestad said.
“It’s nice to win another SCIAC title.”
The Leopards clinched at least a tie of the SCIAC title after their first sweep. La Verne’s defense was solid as it tallied a total of six blocks while Cal Lutheran did not record one the entire match.
The Leopards also had 100 digs on the match. Cal Lu tallied 77 digs as a team and struggled throughout the match as they only hit at a .142 clip.
Senior middle blocker Mandy Sedia and Lindsay led the offensive attack for the Leopards as they recorded 11 and 10 kills respectively.
The Regals made a valiant attempt to come back and avoid a sweep as they had a 23-20 lead at one point in game three, but the Leopards dominance prevailed, winning the game, 32-30.
“We’ve faced a great deal of adversity this season to graduate five starters and to not have a home facility,” Flora said. “But despite it all we proved the road to SCIAC still goes through La Verne.”
Adrian Medrano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.