The University of Redlands women's volleyball team hosted a pair of non-conference opponents on Saturday in Currier Gym and earned split results that included a sweeping win over Mills College. The Bulldogs battled well against NAIA competitor, Vanguard University, but came up short in three sets.
Against the Mills Cyclones, freshman defensive specialist Ally Busch (Long Beach, CA) fired off five-straight serves for the Bulldogs' early 6-0 lead. With sophomore setter Emily Marty (Chula Vista, CA) running the offense, the Maroon and Gray uncorked five kills in six rallies, including two each by sophomore middle hitter Sammi Tafoya (Granite Bay, CA) and sophomore outside hitter Melanie Fyda (Chicago, iL), to make it 13-1 and force a Mills timeout.
The Bulldogs continued to cruise en route to a .696 hitting percentage that included 16 kills and no errors for the 25-7 victory. Freshman middle hitter Hannah Lanyon (San Diego, CA), sophomore outside hitter Christina Casey (Sherwood, OR), and Fyda accounted for nine of them.
During the second set, Head Coach Lisa Lindberg took advantage of the opportunity and mixed up the line-up for the Bulldogs. A tighter start forced Redlands to break open a 10-all tie, as freshman setter Marlena Ramanis (Walnut Creek, CA) found Lanyon and C. Casey for quality kills to eventually make it 15-10.
Ramanis provided a trio of aces and continued to click with the offense by connecting with sophomore right-side hitter Maloree Kupp (Sunnyside, WA) on two put-aways. Kupp also joined forces with freshman middle hitter AJ Jones (Bainbridge Island, WA) for a formidable block at the net to help propel the Bulldogs to set point. Jones closed this one out with a sweet kill from the middle.
The third set mimicked the first, as the Maroon and Gray stormed out to an early 11-2 lead, with freshman right-side hitter Savannah Casey (Encinitas, CA) adding to the hit parade at the net. In addition, the Bulldogs maintained their high level of volleyball, thanks in part to the steady back-row efforts of freshman defensive specialist Emily Vankoll (Moraga, CA) and sophomore defensive specialist Lauren Lux (San Jose, CA), en route to a 21-11 advantage.
Although the Mills offense started to find hardwood, Redlands made the necessary adjustments, which included junior setter Jackie Andrade (Seattle, WA) setting up Tafoya and C. Casey at the right time for the 25-19 victory.
Casey led the Maroon and Gray with a .600 hitting percentage off of 13 kills and just one error. Andrade dished out 15 assists, while Vankoll provided 13 digs.
Against the Lions of Vanguard, the Bulldogs put up a solid fight and showed improvement in each set, but ultimately lost by scores of 13-25, 17-25, 21-25.
In the tightest set, Redlands gained an early 6-3 lead that began with Fyda and Lanyon stuffing the Lions' opening attack. Marty found S. Casey on a pair of quality kills, while the Vanguard offense struggled to find its rhythm against the home team's tough defense.
The Bulldogs maintained a lead through 15-14 but saw it slip away on a 5-1 Vanguard run. From here Redlands struggled to find hardwood, as the Lions' offense heated up.
Overall, S. Casey led the Maroon and Gray with six kills, as Vankoll paced the Bulldogs with 13 digs.
Redlands (6-10, 2-6 SCIAC) faces No. 8 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges in a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) match on Tuesday, October 10, at 7 p.m. in Currier Gym.