The University of Redlands women's volleyball team hosted a tri-match on Sunday in Currier Gym and came away with a pair of non-conference victories against Mills College and Manchester University (IN). In the opener, the Bulldogs captured the sweep over the Cyclones by scores of 25-11, 25-16, 25-18, before coming from behind to defeat the Spartans in four sets, 22-25, 25-16, 25-18, 25-10.
After the Bulldogs gave up a point in the first set against Mills, junior outside hitter Melanie Fyda (Chicago, IL) went up for three consecutive kills that sparked a 12-2 run. The Cyclones worked to close the gap, but the Redlands offense was clicking on all cylinders to win the first set, 25-11.
The second set provided a tighter battle early on, as a serving error for the Bulldogs led to a 4-4 tie. Redlands caught its footing and took advantage of Mills' repeated errors to gain a 10-5 lead. Although the deficit was cut to two, Redlands gained momentum for another huge run to go up, 21-12. Sophomore middle blocker Hannah Lanyon (San Diego, CA) closed out the set with three kills in the final four points to help the Bulldogs to a 25-16 win.
Nonetheless, the Cyclones responded early in the third by scoring three consecutive points to start the stanza. But sophomore right-side hitter Savannah Casey (Encinitas, CA) entered the game for the Bulldogs and immediately made an impact with a kill to tie the set at 5-5. She continued to contribute on both offense and defense with another kill and a block assist to give the Maroon and Gray an 8-6 lead.
However, several costly errors left the door open for Mills to cut the deficit to only one point at 10-11. First-year outside hitter Natalie Starlin (Las Vegas, NV) answered in a huge way with a pair of service aces and a kill to stretch the Bulldogs' advantage to 17-10.
Although the Cyclones put together a 4-1 run, Redlands answered with kills from first-year Tati Luevano (San Pablo, CA), Fyda, and Lanyon to secure the final set and the match victory.
Lanyon impressed with a .688 hitting percentage for a season-high 11 kills to go along with three digs and a block assist. Senior Jackie Andrade (West Seattle, WA) and Luevano ran the offense with efficiency by distributing 14 and 15 assists, respectively.
During the late afternoon tilt, the Bulldogs came out flat in the first set and faced an uphill battle. Down 15-22, Redlands rallied to cut it to two off tough serving from sophomore libero Ally Busch (Long Beach, CA). With her at the service line and junior setter Emily Marty (Chula Vista, CA) orchestrating the offense, the Maroon and Gray gained four kills out of five points from junior right-side hitter Maloree Kupp (Sunnyside, WA).
Despite the late push, the Bulldogs ran out of time to complete the comeback.
Nonetheless, they carried this momentum into the subsequent sets with excellent attacking that topped out at a .435 hitting percentage in the fourth. Leading 10-9 in the second stanza, Redlands broke it open with tough serving by junior defensive specialist Lauren Lux (San Jose, CA) and quality kills by Kupp. In addition, the squad forced the Spartans out of rhythm and into multiple miscues with tenacious defense.
Now leading 20-13, the Bulldogs cruised to the 25-16 tally off a wall of a block by junior middle blocker Michaela Rappa (Roseville, CA) and Starlin before Kupp found hardwood for set point.
During the third, Redlands used a mid-set scoring spurt to pull away for the win. With first-year outside hitter Paige Davidson (Spanaway, WA) at the service line, the Bulldogs gained quality points off attacks from Rappa and Fyda. Shortly thereafter, Rappa initiated another big run with her tough serving, which inspired the offense to knock down kills for three points in four rallies. Lanyon, Davidson, and junior outside hitter Christina Casey (Sherwood, OR) all took care of business for the Maroon and Gray.
Manchester appeared to run out of steam in the fourth frame, as the Spartans racked up multiple errors to hand over points to the home team. Casey, Fyda, and Kupp led the charge from the net, while Busch stepped up her defense and ball-control for the Bulldogs. Junior middle blocker Sammi Tafoya (Granite Bay, CA) joined the offensive explosion with a few kills of her own, as the Maroon and Gray cruised to a 25-10 decision.
Overall, Kupp fired off a career-high 13 kills off 26 attempts for a .462 hitting percentage. Davidson scored nine kills, while Fyda and Casey added eight apiece. Luevano dished out 18 assists, as Marty offered 15.
Earlier in the day, Manchester knocked off Mills in straight sets by scores of 25-14, 25-19, 25-15. Haley Duncan paced the Spartans with 11 kills off a .400 clip. Anna Marie Lawrie supplied 15 digs in a solid showing.
Redlands (10-9, 1-7 SCIAC) returns to Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) action by hosting Chapman University on Tuesday, October 9, at 7 p.m. in Currier Gym.