CLAREMONT, CA. – The Pomona-Pitzer Volleyball team fell to Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) opponent Whittier College 3-1 in four sets at home on Friday evening.
Set Scores: (25-21, 25-19, 24-26, 25-22)
Season Impact: Following the loss against Whittier, the Sagehens fall to 6-16 overall and 3-7 in SCIAC play.
The Poets came into Voelkel Gym, hoping to secure the season sweep over the Sagehens; however, Pomona-Pitzer gave Whittier quite a battle, nearly taking the match to five sets. Junior Sophie Janssen led the Sagehens with 16 kills and scored two block assists while sophomore Vicky-Marie Addo-Ashong had 10 kills and four block assists. Senior Natalie Martin led Pomona-Pitzer with 23 digs and Jessica Finn recorded 22 assists.
The Sagehens jumped to an early lead during the first set as a brief 4-0 run thanks to kills by Addo-Ashong and Kayla Krilove put them ahead 7-4. However, the Poets responded with a big 7-0 rally as they took advantage of several attacking errors by the Sagehens to take an 11-7 lead. Pomona-Pitzer looked to close the deficit, looking for a big play to shift the momentum. Trailing 16-13, Martin managed to receive a hard-hit spike attempt and place the ball high in the air. Addo-Ashong got under the ball and delivered a powerful swing that crushed the ball into the gap to cut the deficit 16-14. The Poets briefly rallied back to extend the lead to 20-16, leading Sagehens Head Coach Valerie Townsend to call a timeout. The Sagehens came out and responded with a huge kill by Addo-Ashong, sparking a 4-0 run to tie the set. However, attacking errors gave the Poets back the lead and a kill by Makenzie Thieme of Whittier sealed the first set 25-21.
The Poets maintained their momentum in the second set, breaking out with a large 15-1 lead. Pomona-Pitzer finally retained its offensive groove, responding with a 10-3 rally to cut the deficit 18-11. The Sagehens kept chipping away at Whittier's lead, but the Poets eventually took the second set 25-18.
Pomona-Pitzer seemingly found its rhythm in the third set, keeping more hits within the court and denying the Poets' hitters easy points. Trailing 9-8, the Sagehens rallied for three straight points, with Addo-Ashong capping the run with a meteor-like kill off a free ball to take an 11-9 lead. The two teams remained fairly close until the Poets rallied back to take a 15-12 lead. First year Makylee Fruge responded with three consecutive kills followed by a setting error from Whittier to help the Sagehens take a 16-15 lead. The Sagehens eventually held a 24-22 lead, but the Poets scored two consecutive points to put the game at deuce. However, the Sagehens refused to give up the set as a kill by Addo-Ashong and a service ace from Britnie Casillas sealed the third set 26-24 in favor of Pomona-Pitzer.
The Sagehens started off firing all cylinders in the fourth set, when a huge kill by Fruge off a quick toss by Casillas ignited a 4-0 run to give the home team a 6-4 lead. The two teams traded points and were extremely close for majority of the set. Falling behind 16-14, Pomona-Pitzer scored five straight points, thanks to a couple big plays Fruge and Janssen, to take a 19-16 lead. Unfortunately, after Janssen's close kill kept the Sagehens ahead 22-20, the Poets rallied for five consecutive points, including a match-winning block to seal the set 25-22.
Up Next: Pomona-Pitzer will head to Cal Lutheran tomorrow to face the Regals at 6:00 p.m.