CLAREMONT, CA. – After battling through a grueling 5-set contest, the Pomona-Pitzer Women's Volleyball team prevailed over the Cal Lutheran Regals on Saturday night (26-24, 24-26, 17-25, 25-16, 15-8) to vault to second place in the SCIAC. The Sagehens scored more kills than the Regals, putting up 60 kills while the Regals had 43. In addition, the Sagehens did an excellent job on the receiving end, battling to keep the ball in play as the team recorded 55 total digs.
"Well it's been a growing time for us," said Head Coach Valerie Townsend. "The girls have been putting in the extra work in the weight room to get their strength and conditioning up. They've been coming at it after practice. They're becoming more resilient and able to push through these types of matches without giving up."
Season Impact: The Sagehens improve to a 7-7 record overall and are now 5-1 in the SCIAC and stand in second place.
Three different Sagehens recorded double-digit kills as Vicky-Marie Addo-Ashong led the team with 15 kills while Isabel Kelly added 14 with three assisted blocks. Adrienne Tong stepped up in the biggest match of her career, recording her second 50-set game of the season and scoring two service aces with 15 digs.
"Adrienne is a very calming presence out on the court," said Coach Townsend. "She's a freshman and is still learning a lot of things and getting used to the system. I've noticed recently that she's becoming more and more comfortable with it and with stepping up and taking charge out there."
Trailing early in the first set 7-5, the Sagehens managed to muster a 5-0 run that was sparked by a huge hit by Gaby Harrison. Kayla Krilove capped the rally off with a kill from a clean open toss by Tong to make it 10-7. After the Regals tied the score up, the two teams battled back-and-forth, but the Sagehens eventually ended up trailing 23-19. However, Julia Zwaal ignited a rally, delivering a big kill and Jackie Roland followed with a service ace into an open gap in the middle of the Regals' floor. After Addo-Ashong scored the next point off a kill, Roland proceeded with two more service aces to put the Sagehens ahead 24-23. With the set tied at 24 apiece, Addo-Ashong finished the set with two straight kills to make it 26-24.
The Sagehens almost replicated their comeback from the opening set in the second set as they came back from a 20-16 deficit to go ahead 21-20. With an opportunity to take a 2-0 lead after going ahead 24-23, the Regals battled back after capitalizing on three straight attacking errors from the Sagehens to tie the match 1-1.
The Regals continued where they left off, rolling through the third set with a blazing offense that threw off the Sagehens' receiving game. Leading 22-16, the Regals scored three straight to cap off the third set and lead 2-1.
Pomona-Pitzer's offense reawakened in the fourth set, as the Sagehens rode a 6-0 rally sparked by two momentum-changing kills by Chloe Kerstein to pounce the Regals with a 10-4 lead. With the team providing key digs and passes to Tong and with Kerstein providing additional aerial assault alongside Kelly, Harrison, and Addo-Ashong, Tong was able to mix up the Sagehens attacking patterns at ease and frustrate the Regals' receivers. Leading 15-8, the Sagehens saw Krilove join the mix with a huge kill off a toss by Tong, followed by a booming shot by Kelly that saw the ball hit the opposing receiver and into the ground to take a 18-8 lead. Ahead 23-16, Zwaal delivered a kill off an impromptu toss by Kerstein and Tong finished the set with a service ace.
Momentum remained in the Sagehens' favor as they leapt to a 5-1 lead. Later, kills by Kelly and Addo-Ashong and a service ace by Roland, her fourth of the night, extended the lead 8-2. The Sagehens never looked back as the Regals failed to string a rally against the high-flying Hens. Leading 13-8, a kill by Harrison followed by a kill from Addo-Ashong sealed the match.
Up Next: The Sagehens will travel to La Verne to take on the Leopards on Tuesday, October 2 at 7:00 p.m.