Nov. 12, 2009

Courtesy of Puget Sound Athletics

REDLANDS, Calif. –
With three players missing from the starting lineup, the 22nd-ranked Puget Sound Loggers gave it their all but in the end, it was the California Lutheran Regals who advanced in the national championship, collecting a five-set victory over the Loggers in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Division III Women’s Volleyball Championship on Thursday afternoon at Currier Gymnasium in Redlands, Calif.

The Loggers used a strong hitting performance combined with a solid defensive game to take the early lead. Putting up 10 kills with just two attack errors to hit .250 on the frame, Puget Sound forced 10 attack errors by the Regals to take a 25-16 lead.

The second set went Cal Lutheran’s way as they put up 16 kills and committed just four attack errors to hit .308 on the frame and even the match at one set each. The Loggers hit well also, swinging at a .200 clip, but CalLu collected the 25-15 set two victory.

Both teams’ hot hitting cooled off a bit in the second set as fatigue began to set in for both squads. The Loggers kept their composure towards the later parts of the frame to hold on for a 25-21 set victory to retake the lead, two sets to one.

The Regals had another monster set in the fourth frame, putting up 16 kills with just three errors on 44 attempts to keep their season alive. The Loggers managed 11 kills of their own by it wasn’t enough to collect the set victory as CalLu evened the series with a 25-18 win.

In the fifth and deciding set, the Regals jumped out to a 5-0 lead and the Loggers tried to hold them off but momentum stayed with CalLu. Puget Sound never gave up, pulling within two points at 14-12 to force Cal Lutheran to call a timeout. That was as close as Puget Sound would get as a kill by Cori Hayes sealed the deal for the Regals as they collected the five set victory with a 15-12 set five win.

The Loggers were led by 16 kills and three blocks from senior Kalli Kamphaus (Manson, Wash.). Sophomore Sophie DeWitt (Astoria, Ore.) added 12 kills to go with four blocks while senior Stephanie Harvey (Yakima, Wash./West Valley) added 42 assists and 17 digs in her final collegiate match. The Loggers were without the services of Lindsey Denman (Kenmore, Wash./Inglemoor) and Brynn Blickenstaff (Eagle, Idaho), who were both out with injury, and Bre Boyce (Kent, Wash./Kentwood), who was out due to illness.

Cal Lutheran was led by 18 kills from Erin Exline, who hit an impressing .455 for the match. Hayes finished with 13 kills, including the match-winner, while Rachel Smith added 12 kills in the win. Jackie Russell put up 51 assists while Smith finished with a match-high 25 digs. The Regals will now face off against Colorado College in the second round of the tournament.

The Loggers end their season with a record of 18-7.