Fifth-Set Surges Give La Verne Narrow Win Over Sagehens

Claremont, Calif. - La Verne used 5-0 and 4-0 runs in the fifth set to hold off Pomona-Pitzer and capture a 3-2 win over the Sagehens on Tuesday night at the Rains Center.

Pomona-Pitzer slips to 5-11 on the season and 3-4 in the SCIAC with the loss. With the win, the Leopards improve to 4-2 in the SCIAC, maintaining a tie for second place in the loss column with Occidental and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Set scores were 24-26, 26-24, 25-21, 19-25, 15-10 in favor of the Leopards.

Freshman Ellen Yamasaki (Salinas, Calif.) had 15 kills to lead the Sagehens, including three early in the fifth set to stake her team to a 6-3 lead. However, with Pomona-Pitzer holding a 7-5 lead, the Leopards went on a key 5-0 run on Krystal Castellanos' serve, including one ace to tie the match at 7-7.

Pomona-Pitzer got back within 10-9, but once again La Verne responded with a 4-0 run on three straight kills from three different players, followed by a block from Catie Logan and Tiffany Johnstone. After the Sagehens got one point back, senior libero Heidi Leonard (Del Mar, Calif. - pictured) had a tremendous dig to temporarily keep the Sagehens in the point, but Randi Taylor-Toomay was able to finish off the point, and the match, with a kill.

Leonard had 30 digs on the day for the Sagehens, while senior setter Kenzie Aries (Escondido, Calif.) had 46 assists and 17 digs. Junior Rachel Bollens (Seattle, Wash.) had a terrific day hitting with 11 kills in 23 attempts, while freshman Kirea Mazzolini (Phoenix, Ariz.) had 11 kills in 30 attempts. Logan had 16 kills in 30 attempts for the Leopards, with only two errors.

The Sagehens will play their next three matches on the road, beginning with an away match at Occidental on Friday evening.