PASADENA, Calif. (Oct. 7, 2016) - The freshman trio of Alexa Lauinger (Ortonville, Mich. / Brandon), Lauren Li (Bellaire, Texas / Bellaire) and Ellie Walker (Minneapolis, Minn. / Blake School) turned it up in their first-ever Orange Out to fuel Caltech volleyball to a sweep over Mills College on Friday night.
Lauinger recorded her sixth double-double of the season, racking up 12 kills and 16 digs to go with four service aces, while Li smacked a team-season-high 18 kills on a career-best .500 hitting percentage and just missed her own double-double with nine digs. Walker was instrumental to the success of both her classmates, setting for a career-high 36 assists over the three-set match.
The match began slowly for both teams as four of the first five combined points were scored on errors. The foes traded points throughout the set, with the Beavers finally taking their first lead midway through at 13-12. Caltech extended the lead to three before a three-point Mills run immediately erased the margin, but the Beavers responded with six of the next eight points to surge ahead by four at 23-19. With their backs against the wall, the Cyclones clawed back to a 23-23 tie on a kill, two errors and an ace. Head Coach Tom Gardner called a timeout to settle his team and the raucous crowd showed the Beavers their support, culminating in consecutive Mills errors to hand the set to the hosts.
The Beavers started the next set with another three attacking errors in the first five points to trail 4-1, but would finally find their stride to hit above .450 the rest of the way. Feeding off the crowd's energy, Caltech went on to score six straight points to take the lead at 7-4 and never looked back, going on to dominate the set, 25-12. Fueled by the momentum and with their first 2-0 match lead of the season, the Beavers scored another six unanswered points to open the third. Caltech extended the margin throughout the set,with Mills summoning one final rally to fight off three match points before Li closed it out with her 18th kill of the night.
Gardner and the Beavers travel to No. 7 Cal Lutheran University (15-4 overall, 6-2 SCIAC) on Tuesday, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. just five days after already facing the Regals.