Poets fall to Leopards in big match-up

Poets fall to Leopards in big match-up

Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com

WHITTIER, Calif. – With playoff implications on the line Tuesday night, the Whittier College Volleyball team was unable to protect their home court as the University of La Verne came in and pulled off the four set victory 25-22, 25-27, 25-19, 25-17.

Needing two wins out of their final three games, the Purple & Gold were unable to pull off the win inside the Graham Athletic Center.  They now drop to 15-11, 8-6 SCIAC, while La Verne improves to 17-9, 9-5 SCIAC.

Heading into the match-up the Poets were tied with La Verne for 5th place in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Standings and now find themselves in sole possession of 6th place, two games out of 4th

Makenzie Thieme (Corona, Calif.) led the offense with 14 kills and was joined by freshmen Franki Piloto (Ontario, Calif.) and Kathea Schamblin (Bakersfield, Calif.) who each recorded 11 kills apiece.  Schamblin also added nine digs.  Camryn Purdom (Moreno Valley, Calif.) finished with 31 assists and eight digs and Hannah Joyce (Ladera Ranch, Calif.) with 18 assists and four digs.

Haley Petruescu (La Mirada, Calif.) led the backrow with 14 digs and Piloto and Alaina Rhee (Kent, WA) provided a combined four block assists.

The back and forth battle started in the opening set.  Leading 8-7, the Poets saw ULV come back with five in a row to take a 12-8 lead.  But Rhee, Piloto, and Katelyn Popoff (Hacienda Heights, Calif.) would respond with four kills themselves that swung the momentum.  Soon after the opening frame would become tied on three different occasions until WC was able to go on top 22-20 after back to back kills from Thieme.  But the Leos were relentless and came back scoring the final five points of the set capitalizing on three Poet attacking errors to go on top 1-0. 

In the second the Poets returned the favor leveling the match.  They saw themselves trailing 24-21 but was able to put together four unanswered with Schamblin coming alive that gave WC a 25-24 advantage.  A kill from Haley Celaya would deadlock the set at 25-25 but Schamblin and Piloto would combo to wrap up the frame. 

The third set was all Whittier early but that soon changed as ULV would come back with a huge run that tied things up before they took the lead 19-15.  The Poets used an attacking error to pull within two but a 7-1 run to close out the set would give the Leos a 2-1 advantage.

Whittier tried to keep the final set close to force a fifth but midway through La Verne was able to grab a small lead, which they would extend to six before completing the win with six of the final nine points.    

Whittier travels this Friday, October 26 to take on Claremont-M-S beginning at 7:00pm.