No. 18 Volleyball fends off Occidental

LA VERNE, Calif. — The No. 18 University of La Verne volleyball team clawed back from a two-set deficit to beat Occidental, 17-25, 22-25, 25-23, 25-18, 16-14, on Tuesday night at Sports Science and Athletic Pavilion.

The Tigers pushed the Leopards to the brink in the fifth set as a Cassandra Guidice kill gave Occidental a 14-13 lead, setting up the match point. But Kelsi Robinson came up with a huge block to force a deuce, Tiffany Mancuso forced Oxy into a bad set with a good serve and Robinson finished the match off with a decisive kill to seal the win for the Leopards.

La Verne improves to 17-4 overall and 11-2 in SCIAC play. Occidental slips to 9-11 and 5-7.

Cassie Thompson came up with a kill after big kill throughout the match and was strong at the net, finishing with a team-high 13 kills and nine blocks.

Robinson registered eight total blocks, including two solo stops, and had 11 kills.

Destinee Sales and Brittany Yaxley also reached double digits in kills with 12 and 11, respectively.

Occidental raced out to a two-set lead with good defense and smart hitting. The Tigers led wire-to-wire in the first set as they held the Leopards to .031 hitting and claimed the last four points of the second set to put the Leopards on their heels.

But the Leopards, who rallied back from a two-set deficit against No. 7 Cal Lutheran just five days ago, sorted out their attack in the third set as they put away 18 kills on .304 hitting in the third set. Thompson and Sales combined for nine kills in the frame to pace the Leopards.

La Verne forced the Tigers into six straight attacking errors late in the fourth set to grab a comfortable 24-17 lead and Robinson ended the set with a kill. Occidental hit -.029 in the fourth set.

Occidental's Claire Strohm notched 20 kills to lead all players. Cassandra Guidice had 13 kills on .310 hitting and Amanda Herold added 12 kills at a .370 clip.

La Verne returns to action on Friday at Chapman.

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