Poets fall in five to Hardin-Simmons

Poets fall in five to Hardin-Simmons

Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com

GEORGETOWN, TX – The Whittier College Volleyball team looked to rebound on Day 2 action after going 0-2 on Day 1 of the Southwestern University Volleyball Fall Invitational.

But after another full day of volleyball the Purple & Gold again dropped a pair going winless over the two days.  They opened against a tough Carthage squad before ending the invite with a battle against Hardin-Simmons.

Carthage (L, 25-22, 25-19, 25-14)

Whittier kept the match close in the early stages.  Back to back kills from Marissa Montoya (Glendora, Calif.) kept WC within two ay 10-8 in the opening frame.  But after that the Lady Reds went on a 6-1 run that moved the deficit to seven.  Whittier was able to bounce back with five of the next seven points led by Katelyn Popoff (Hacienda Heights, Calif.) who added a pair of strikes.  Trailing 24-19, Whittier strung together three unanswered behind the strong serving of Katie Engle (Whittier, Calif.) to make the score 24-22, but the comeback ended as Carthage's Haley Horner would connect for a kill that gave the Lady Reds the first set.

In the second WC held a 10-8 lead early behind kills by Kathea Schamblin (Bakersfield, Calif.), Alaina Rhee (Kent, WA), and Jazmyn Sudbrook-Johnson (Fremont, Calif.).  But again Carthage would battle back with a 7-1 run that swung the momentum, while moving the score to 15-11.  This lead they wouldn't let go despite WC getting within two at 18-16 following a service ace by Haley Petruescu (La Mirada, Calif.).  Four of the next five points would go to CC and they would then pick up the second game after ending the set with three straight points.

It was all Carthage in the final set as they opened with a 7-0 run.  They extended the lead to 11-2 and then 17-7 before securing the sweep at 25-14. 

Popoff and Franki Piloto (Ontario, Calif.) each totaled six kills.  Sudbrook-Johnson added five kills and Rhee with four.  Makayla Wright (Covina, Calif.) led the point and finished with 12 assists and 11 digs.  Engle finished with 19 assists to lead the backrow.       

Hardin-Simmons (L, 13-25, 25-22, 28-26, 21-25, 15-9)

The Purple & Gold looked to pick up their first win on the weekend in the afternoon match-up against Hardin-Simmons but for the second time over two days fell in five sets. 

Whittier hit .104 as a team and had three players in double figures led by Popoff who finished with 16 kills and 16 digs.  Piloto registered 13 kills and a pair of block assists and Sudbrook-Johnson chipped in with 11 kills. 

Wright had a strong game up front putting up 27 assists along with 17 digs.  Serena Alvarez (La Habra, Calif.) added 13 assists and Engle totaled 25 digs in the backrow.  A support player in the middle was Rhee who added four kills but made her presence felt defensively as she added three solo blocks and two block assists.

Whittier rolled in the first set 25-13, hitting .241 as a team and ending the set on a 10-2 run.  In the second Hardin-Simmons fought back.  After trailing 10-9, Whittier strung together five in a row led by Abby Salmon (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) who recorded three aces.  The momentum swung back to the Cowgirls when they rattled off five straight and then four of five to go on top 22-20.  An attacking error by HSU and a kill by Aubrey Caires (Gardnerville, NV) evened things up at 22-22 but the final three points went to the Cowgirls by way of kills from Alicia Becerra and Hannah Langerman. 

After trailing 13-9 in the third, Whittier fought back with five in a row as Popoff went off serving.  It was then back and forth after that.  HSU had set points at 24-19 but it wouldn't hold as WC would rally with five straight as Popoff and Sudbrook-Johnson would combine for five in a row that tied things up.  Popoff added another two kills down the stretch but it wouldn't be enough to clinch the crucial third set as HSU would hold off the late surge moving the score to 2-1. 

The match got level following a tight fourth set.  It was back and forth early and then WC pulled out in front 17-14 and then 21-17.  The Cowgirls got the next two points to get within two and then cut the deficit to one moments later.  But that's as close as they would get, as Hana Abdullah (Walnut, Calif.) would connect for a kill followed by a service ace from Wright.

In the decisive fifth set Whittier fell behind 6-2 but managed to catch up with six in a row behind a strong serving effort by Alvarez giving them an 8-6 advantage.  But this lead wouldn't hold as HSU would string together nine of the next ten points to clinch the victory.   

Whittier returns home today but will travel again next weekend on September 6-7 during the Cal Lu Fornia Invitational.  Over the two days they will faceoff against Centenary (LA), Colby-Sawyer, UC Santa Cruz, and Texas-Lutheran.