Photo by Shane Rodrigues
By Madison Rubino
La Verne Athletics Communication
LA VERNE, Calif. — The University of La Verne volleyball team was nearly flawless in attack as it beat Occidental, 25-15, 25-15, 25-17, on Friday night at Sports Science and Athletic Pavilion.
La Verne improves to 20-4 overall and 11-2 in the SCIAC. With No. 2 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps's (10-2) loss to No. 7 Cal Lutheran (11-2) on on the same night, the Leopards move into a first-place tie with the Regals. Oxy falls to 9-12 and 5-7.
La Verne was simply unstoppable on offense and the Tigers stood no chance in tonight's matchup. The Leopards put away 40 kills on 84 swings and committed only six errors for .405 hitting percentage. Meanwhile, their agile defense limited the Tigers to .048 hitting. The Leopards collected 39 digs and eight total blocks.
The Leopards remain unshaken by any opponent in the SCIAC as they have won nine conference matches in a row.
Kelsi Robinson lead the team with kills with 15 on .714 attack percentage. Marisa Rojo followed right behind Robinson with nine kills and added five services aces. Tiffany Mancuso handed out 35 assist and five digs. Cassie Thompson put away eight kills in 16 attempts.
Robinson added two blocks and Thompson had six.
Rojo set the tone for La Verne with three aces early in the first set. With Rojo serving, the Leopards scored five straight points to take a 7-3 lead in the first set and didn't look back. The Leopards put down 16 kills and only one error in the set and didn't let the Tigers come close to competing.
Occidental saw light in the second set but got buried by a 10-1 run by the Leopards to end the set. Robinson and Rojo combined for six kills during that stretch. La Verne hit even better in the second set as they knocked down 16 kills at a .500 clip.
La Verne wasn't as hot offensively in the third and final set (.222) but the defense stepped up as it held forced the Tigers into 10 attacking errors. Oxy came within 19-16 in the frame, but the Leopards closed strong once again, ending the set on a 6-1 run.
Strohm led the Tigers with six kills, but only hit .000.
The Leopards are back in action at No. 7 Cal Lutheran on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Both teams have clinched a spot in the SCIAC Postseason Tournament but it will have SCIAC title implications as both teams having two losses.