In a tale of two matches, the Golden Eagles had to settle for a split in their two matches on Day 2 of the La Sierra University Women's Volleyball Tournament. Both matches went the full five games. La Sierra started the day off with a loss to Hope International (21-25, 25-11, 22-25, 25-17, 15-10) and finished the day off with a win over California State University San Marcos (18-25, 25-20, 25-23, 18-25, 15-10).
Looking to carry the momentum of their 2-0 start on Day 1 of the tournament, the Golden Eagles hit the court against Hope International University in the first match of the day. The Royals entered the match looking for their first win on the season after losing their only match of Day 1 against CSU San Marcos. Similar to their victory over San Diego Christian, the Golden Eagles struggled to gain any rhythm and momentum against the Royals and were ultimately unable to battle through a five-game match filled with too many unforced errors to overcome.
The Royals benefited from the stellar play of outside hitters Markisha Richie and Summer Mitchell. Mitchell finished the match with 17 kills and 20 digs (a game high) while Richie added 18 kills and four digs. Setter Julianna Hicks led all players with 52 assists.
For the third match in a row, Shelby Madigan led the Golden Eagles in kills with 14 including 17 digs. Lupe Garcia helped carry the offensive load with 13 kills and five digs. The Golden Eagles were force to play the match without starting outside hitter Lina Semaia for precautionary reasons.
In the second match of the day, it was a rematch of the Association of Independent Institutions (AII) playoff championship from last season, which the Cougars won. Entering the final match of the tournament with a record of 3-0, the Cougars saw themselves matched up against a much different Golden Eagles squad that was looking to rebound from their earlier loss to Hope International.
After the coaches spent the afternoon tweaking their rotations for the afternoon match, the Golden Eagles played with much more confidence and urgency. The Cougars would take the early lead by winning the first game of the match. La Sierra would rebound to take the next two games, but got off to a slow start in game four, which they eventually dropped. The Game 2 and 3 losses by CSU San Marcos were the first games they lost in the entire tournament. In the fifth game, the Golden Eagles captured the early momentum and didn't let go.
Semaia was back on the floor for the evening match and took full advantage of her opportunity, leading the Golden Eagles in kills with 16. Madigan finished the match with 14 kills and 10 digs. But the two leaders in kills had more help with Lupe Garcia adding nine kills eight digs. And middle blocker Ashley Sanchez pitched in with seven kills and seven blocks. The Golden Eagles strong play at the net proved to be a difference, with La Sierra finishing the match with 18 blocks to only four for the Cougars.
Each team split the setting duties. Cougars setter Alyssa Foster led all players with 38 assists and her teammate Taryn Salcedo contributed 13 assists. Colleen Stafford led the Golden Eagles with 26 assists and Tiana Whitlock added 13 assists.
The Cougars had three players who finished with double-figures in kills; Lindsey Sappington (21), Taylor Degraaf (15), Andi Vordermann (12). Degraaf also added 11 digs and six aces.
Both teams finish the two-day tournament with a record of 3-1. If tonight was any indication of what lies ahead, these two teams will be battling all season long for AII
Supremacy. The Golden Eagles will be back in action on Tuesday when they travel to Azusa Pacific University for three exhibition/scrimmage contests, before returning home on August 25 to play host to Simpson University (Redding, CA) at 8pm.
La Sierra University Women's Volleyball Tournament (Complete Results)
Wednesday, August 15
CSU San Marcos def. San Diego Christian, 3-0
La Sierra def. University of Montana-Western, 3-0
CSU San Marcos def. Hope International, 3-0
University of Montana-Western def. San Diego Christian, 3-0
La Sierra def. San Diego Christian, 3-1
Thursday, August 16
Hope International def. La Sierra, 3-2
CSU San Marcos def. University of Montana-Western 3-0
University of Montana-Western def. Hope International, 3-1
La Sierra vs CSU San Marcos, 3-2