Photo by Michael Wong
PASADENA, Calif. (Sept. 27, 2016) – The Caltech volleyball team fought back from a disheartening first two sets to within one point of its first set win in a SCIAC match in a decade before falling in extra points to Chapman University on Tuesday night.
Following a pair of decisive Chapman victories in the first two sets over which Caltech totaled a mere four kills against 15 errors, the Beavers dug in and played the Panthers point-for-point in the third set. Caltech completely transformed its play in the third set, posting a season-high .244 hitting percentage on 11 kills and a single error after back-to-back -.241 and -.250 percentages in the first two sets.
Neither team built more than a two-point lead through the first 45 points, with the Beavers rallying from a two-point deficit to surge ahead by two themselves on two occasions, at 7-5 and 15-13.
Chapman regained an edge at 21-20, but with freshman Alexa Lauinger (Ortonville, Mich. / Brandon) serving, the Beavers took control. The rookie notched a kill to tie the set at 21-21 and earn the serve, which she held through a 24-21 Caltech lead thanks to a pair of blocks by freshman Lauren Li (Bellaire, Texas / Bellaire) and sophomore Sakthi Vetrivel (Redmond, Wash. / Overlake) plus a kill by Li.
Chapman fought off set point with a big block that forced a ballhandling error on Caltech's side. The Panthers posted another three straight points to hold set point themselves at 25-24, but an attack error gave the ball back to Caltech. Vetrivel served up an ace to pull back within one point of taking the set, but Chapman came up with the final three necessary to claim the victory.
Lauinger and Vetrivel each smacked five kills, while Li added four. Li and Vetrivel recorded three total blocks apiece, with Lauinger, Li and freshman Mei-Ling Laures (Chicago, Ill. / British Int'l School) all tying for the team lead with eight digs.
Head Coach Tom Gardner and the Beavers host No. 2 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges (12-0, 4-0) on Friday, Sept. 30 at 7 p.m.