The California Lutheran University women’s volleyball team ended the Cal Lu Fornia Invitational with its first two losses of the season on Sunday, Sept. 8, bringing their impressive six-game winning streak to an end.
The Regals went into day two of the tournament confident after sweeping Hardin-Simmons University and the University of Puget Sound the day before.
The Regals fell short in the first match of day two, failing to take the fifth and final set to visiting opponent University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. The Regals still managed to put on quite a performance with several players stepping up defensively to keep the sets close.
“Having back to back games is going to be tough for us,” Assistant Coach Monica Lundgren said in an email interview. “We do have a younger team this year, so it will be a true test to our abilities to thrive and lean on each other.”
Lundgren said that the team captains, senior outside hitter Amanda Roberts and senior setter Stephanie Rolfson, have really stepped into strong leadership roles this season.
“They’ve shown what CLU volleyball is all about. They lead through their hard work and dedication,” Lundgren said in an email interview.
Both captains put on stellar performances, along with junior libero Carly Howard, putting up a total of 52 digs between the three Regals. Roberts earned her third double-double of the season and recorded 23 kills in five sets. Although it looked like the Crusaders were going to take the match in the fourth set, the Regals were able to score a streak of eight straight points and end the set, 25-21.
However, the Crusaders took the lead early in the fifth and final set and did not look back. They came out victorious 15-7, taking the match 3-2.
Just a few hours later, the Regals stepped back on the court in Gilbert Arena to face the Clarkson University Golden Knights, their final opponent of the tournament. The match came down to the final set as the two teams’ back-and-forth battle tied the match at two sets a piece.
In the first set, the Regals picked up momentum with an early five-point lead. They finished off the set 26-24, starting the match with a 1-0 lead. The second set was a tug-of-war with both sides tying up the game several times until senior middle blocker Paris Dosch finished the set with a kill, giving the Regals a 2-0 lead.
It looked as if the Regals were going to finish the match early by taking the third set, but the knights had other plans. The knights took the match, 29-27, to keep them in the competition.
The knights took the biggest lead of the match and won the fourth set, 25-16, forcing a fifth match.
Several players had standout performances to keep the match close. Sophomore setter Jennifer Kent not only recorded a double-double in the match, but earned a career high of 47 assists. First-year outside hitter Madison Karcich was able to record her first career double-double as a Regal with 11 kills and 24 digs in the five sets, while her teammate Dosch led the team in kills with 15. Despite strong plays from Cal Lutheran, Clarkson was able to answer back in the last set with a final score of 15-12, claiming the match, 3-2.
Despite the two losses, Lundgren and Assistant Coach Allie Eason agreed that the team is unphased heading into conference week.
“If the girls work hard and love it, that is all we can ask for,” Lundgren said.
The Regals managed to pull through the long weekend of double headers with an impressive overall record of 6-2. The star-studded team now heads into their first conference match on Wednesday, Sept. 12 against rival University of La Verne at home.