Riverside, Calif. – GAME 1: Looking to carry the momentum from Day 1 of the La Sierra University Invitational, the Golden Eagles struggled to gain their footing against the Bulldogs (5-5) from the University of Montana Western (Dillon, MT). Fortunately, they were able bounce back, after losing the first two sets, winning what proved to be an exciting five set match (17-25, 18-25, 25-17, 25-15, 15-13).
The Golden Eagles displayed their versatility as Lupe Garcia seemingly put the team on her shoulders at times, handing things off to Lina Semaia who helped pull the team through. Garcia finished with a match high 20 kills on 37 attempts (.405) to go along with three service aces, and two block assists. Semaia added 17 kills of her own, with seven digs and one block.
Outside hitter Robyn Miller, who led the team in yesterday's play, tallied nine kills while Ashley Baumgaertel pitched in with six kills and three blocks. Colleen Stafford had 47 assists and 18 digs.
La Sierra's defense proved to be one of the big factors that allowed them to get back into the match. They were led by libero Chantal Washington who had a match high 22 digs, followed by Stafford's 18 digs, and Erin Miller's 10 digs. Ana Flores and Johanna Tope each pitched in with nine digs in the effort, for a team total of 84 digs in the match.
After the Bulldogs won two convincing victories in the first two sets, the Golden Eagles rebounded to win two convincing victories of their own. In the fifth and final set, the Bulldogs held an 8-5 lead as the two teams switched sides. But it was all Golden Eagles after the switchover, as they would outscore the Bulldogs 10-5 on the way to their third straight win to start the season.
GAME 2: The final match of the tournament, put the only two undefeated teams up against each other. After an 0-4 start to the season, Hope International University (3-5) was on a three match winning streak. But a solid effort by the Golden Eagles (4-0) put an end to that winning streak, while extending their own streak to four, to start the season. La Sierra defeated Hope International, 25-18, 26-24, 17-25, 25-14.
Semaia led the team with 13 kills, followed by Garcia who had 12 kills in the match. R. Miller finished with nine kills, with Abby Latuhoi and Stafford each added seven kills. Stafford also added 43 assists and five digs.
Once again, Washington who had another match high, 14 digs, led the team defensively. Tope and Flores matched their effort from the first match of the day to finish with nine digs apiece. The Golden Eagles compiled a total of nine blocks in the match (10 block assists, 4 solo blocks), led by Latuhoi who had four block assists and one solo block, and Baumgaertel who added two block assists and two solo blocks.
The Golden Eagles also used nine service aces to their benefit. Washington led the way with three, followed by Flores and E. Miller who each had two.
In what proves to be another exciting match-up, the Royals will be back at the Alumni Pavilion this coming Wednesday. The match is scheduled for a 7pm start.