Women's volleyball takes five-setter from La Verne

Sara Utsugi, Courtney Justus, Kaitlyn Raymundo (photo by Larry Newman)
Sara Utsugi, Courtney Justus, Kaitlyn Raymundo (photo by Larry Newman)

ORANGE, Calif. – After winning the first two sets but dropping the next two, the Chapman University women's volleyball team closed out a 25-23, 26-24, 18-25, 10-25, 15-13 win over visiting La Verne on Tuesday. The Panthers snapped a three-match skid with the win to move to 5-4 overall and 1-2 in the SCIAC.

Chapman shocked La Verne in the first set, coming out strong and building a 13-9 lead after a kill from sophomore Courtney Justus. The Leopards (8-3, 2-1 SCIAC) fought back an eventually took a 20-17 lead on one of Delaney Lynch's match-high 19 kills. The seesaw battle continued as Justus slammed down another kill to tie the match at 23-23 and Eve Silverman followed with a kill to bring up set point. A Leopard attacking error gave the Panthers an early 1-0 lead in the match.

The first set was one of Chapman's strongest of the night as it hit .267 as a team and put up three blocks. La Verne hit just .175 in the opening set but would put together a much more efficient attack as the match continued.

La Verne outhit Chapman in four of the five sets and the Leopards hit .256 in the match compared to Chapman's .145 hitting percentage. However, La Verne missed 11 serves – half of which came in the first two sets.

Chapman took full advantage of the La Verne miscues by taking a tight second set. Chapman trailed 23-22 before three attacking errors and a Justus kill sealed the 26-24 win and gave Chapman a 2-0 lead in the match.

La Verne hit .297 in the fourth and .409 in the fifth to even the match at two sets a piece. After a decisive loss in the fourth, Chapman pushed back in the fifth. Justus and Lauren Friend both hit kills early on and La Verne missed two early serves to help Chapman build a 7-4 lead. Charene Uale knocked down back-to-back kills for La Verne to make it 7-6 but Chapman went on a 4-1 run to rebuild an 11-7 lead. A pair of Silverman kills paired with kills from Friend and Abby Smith to fuel the run.

Justus set the Panthers up with match point when the final of her 15 kills hit the hardwood to make it 14-11 but two Panther errors brought La Verne back to 14-13. Head coach Mary Cahill called a quick timeout and Kaitlyn Raymundo found Friend out of the timeout for the match-winning kill.

Raymundo ended the match with 40 assists and eight digs while Sara Utsugi had 17 digs. Friend hit .429 with eight kills to go along with her five blocks. Kylie Cooke had a double-double with 13 kills and 11 digs. La Verne had five players reach double digit kills.

The Panthers face another tough match on the road on Friday at No. 4 Cal Lutheran before returning home for a 4 p.m. match on Saturday with Pomona-Pitzer.


by Steven Olveda
Sports Information Director

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