PASADENA, Calif. (Nov. 4, 2014) – An incredible team effort lifted the Caltech volleyball team to a thrilling five-set victory over West Coast Baptist College to cap the season and send off senior Connie Hsueh (Pacifica, Calif. / Henry M. Gunn) on Tuesday night.
An epic first set that lasted 60 points set the tone for the rest of the match. The teams traded the lead early until the Eagles rattled off five straight points to go up by three at 10-7. Caltech pulled back within one at 12-11, but WCB responded with a 8-2 run to surge ahead to a 20-13 lead.
The Beavers were not about to give in, however, and came up with a 7-2 run of their own to cut the deficit to two. After an Eagles kill made the score 23-20, Caltech notched three straight points to knot things up at 23-23. A service error handed nearly condemned the Beavers, but the Eagles returned the favor to bring the score back to a tie at 24-24. The Eagles earned a total of four more set points, but each time the Beavers came up in the clutch, with Hsueh and sophomore Suzannah Osekowsky (Saratoga, Calif. / Saratoga) combining on a block and junior Catherine Jamshidi (Burke, Va. / Lake Braddock Secondary School) recording a solo block.
Two service errors later, the Beavers held serve with the score tied 29-29. Junior Meghana Pagadala (Rock Island, Ill. / Rivermont Collegiate) tipped a perfectly placed kill to put Caltech within set point, and junior Amy Hu (Rockville, Md. / Montgomery Blair) iced it with an ace for the 31-29 win.
Caltech rode the momentum into the second set, leading all the way through to 19-17 before a WCB rally saw the Eagles score eight of the final nine points to take the set, 25-20. The Beavers got out to another early lead in the third set, but the Eagles rallied late again to just eek out the 25-23 win and take a 2-1 lead in the match.
With their backs against the wall, the Beavers stepped up their play to yet another level as they notched the first five points of the fourth set, forcing a WCB timeout. Caltech extended the lead to 12-6 and later to 20-12, cruising to the 25-18 victory.
In the deciding fifth set, Caltech once more began with the lead and quickly extended it to 6-2, holding the margin through to 12-8 and looking well on their way to the win. It would not come easy, however, as the Eagles silenced the gym with a 5-1 run to tie the match at 13-13. Fortune was on Caltech's side, though, as a pair of attack errors handed the Beavers the match to close a storybook ending on the season.
Jamshidi led the Beavers with her first double-double of the year, smacking 18 kills on a .362 hitting percentage while notching season highs in digs (14) and blocks (five) to go along with an assist and an ace. Hu posted her second double-double of the season, tying her season high of 21 assists and setting a new mark with 12 digs, while junior Juliet Su (Alberta, Canada / Western Canada Sr.) led the team with a 15 digs – just one shy of her career high. Pagadala reached double digits in kills (10) for the first time in her career and added five digs and two blocks as Junior Amarise Little (Orlando, Fla. / Freedom) chipped in with five kills, five digs and a whopping seven blocks (two solo). Junior Harinee Maiyuran (Irvine, Calif. / Arnold O. Beckman) made 11 assists and added six digs while Hseuh closed out her career with three blocks.
Congratulations to Connie on her career as a Beaver!