PASADENA, Calif. – On Saturday, the Caltech volleyball team strung together two terrific matches and recorded its first victory of the season. In the doubleheader against Mills College, the Beavers played a close opening afternoon match before prevailing in the nightcap.
The first match was highlighted with Caltech's first set win this season in an unforgettable back-and-forth display. Neither team took control until the very end, when Caltech seized a 32-30 win. The Beavers lost the match (17-25, 32-30, 12-25, 23-25), but it was a show of marked improvement and set the tone for the evening escapade.
The Beavers took the positive emotions from the afternoon and brought them to the evening match. Caltech jumped out to an early lead and won the first set handily by a score of 25-18. Mills fought back and took the second, 25-22. The Beavers dug in and won the third, 25-20, but Mills would not go away. The visitors knotted the match at two games with a 25-20 win.
The fifth and determining set saw the Beavers jump out to a comfortable margin of 10 to 3, but there was no quit in the team from Oakland. Mills kept up the battle and tied the game. The Beavers, playing with unrelenting energy and focus, were finally able to close out the match with strong serving from co-captain, Catherine Jamshidi, 15-12. The win marked the first of the 2014 season and the first with coach Tom Gardner at the helm.
"I am so proud of this team … the way they battled but stayed together as a team through the ups and downs that are part of a match," Gardner said. "I love that we never got behind in the match and never looked worried. I saw a confidence in the team that we had not shown and they did not get rattled in any situation. Mills played really tough, but we always seemed to have an answer. This was a great win for our team and we learned a lot about ourselves from it."
The Beavers were led on Saturday with an amazing performance by Jamshidi, who tallied 42 kills, 11 aces, 14 digs, a block solo, 5 block assists and a total of 56.5 points. She also hit .333. Junior setter Amy Hu was a large contributor with 38 assists, 15 digs, and 8 kills. Juniors Meghana Pagadala (12 kills, 9 digs, and 3 aces), Amarise Little (8 kills, 4 aces, and 7 digs), and Juliet Su (6 aces and 20 digs) were all instrumental in Caltech's success.
The Beavers next action comes Tuesday at home against CMS at 7:30 pm.