ORANGE, Calif. – The Chapman University women's volleyball team dominated on both sides of the net to earn a 26-24, 25-23, 25-13 sweep of visiting La Sierra. The Panthers (9-8) hit a season-high of .327 as a team, put up another season-high with 10 total blocks and sophomore Sara Utsugi had 21 digs in the sweep.
Chapman had the hot hand all night long on the offensive end with sophomore Courtney Justus leading the attack. Chapman's outside hitter did not commit a hitting error while putting down 10 kills on 24 swings. Junior Kylie Cooke added in nine kills while sophomore Lauren Friend continued her recent hot streak with five kills on .517 hitting.
Friend's six blocks also led a strong defensive effort at the net. Senior Abby Smith had four blocks while Cooke and Eve Silverman had their hands on three blocks. Silverman was strong in the back row as well with 11 digs to add to Utsugi's 21 digs.
The Panthers fell behind in the first set but La Sierra missed five serves in the opening set to aid Chapman in the comeback. The Panther .297 hitting percentage was their lowest of the night but was enough to overcome the Golden Eagles .318 hitting in the opener. The Panther faced set point as La Sierra went ahead 24-23 but Cooke slammed down a kill to even it up at 24-24, which was immediately followed by a La Sierra hitting error. Cooke and Smith turned away La Sierra's next attack to come away with the set win.
The second set was another tight one but the Panthers held on to a late lead. The two teams traded kills late in the set before a Justus kill gave the Panthers the 25-23 edge. After two narrow losses, La Sierra went up 4-1 in the third only to see Chapman embark on a 17-5 run, capped by eight consecutive points that turned a 10-9 lead into and 18-9 lead.
Chapman did not commit a hitting error in the third set and had six of its 10 blocks to run away with the match-clinching win.
The Panthers make the trip to Pomona-Pitzer on Friday for their next match but return home Oct. 14 for a 7 p.m. match with Occidental.
by Steven Olveda
Sports Information Director