Photo by Michael Wong
WHITTIER, Calif. (Oct. 18, 2016) – A fantastic defensive display was not enough for the shorthanded Caltech volleyball team, which fell at Whittier College on Tuesday night.
With the Beavers missing a pair of middle blockers, the outlook could have been grim on both sides of the net. The remaining five starters stepped up, however, to combine for 58 of the team's season-high 60 digs in a three-set match. Junior Mayra Melendez (Salinas, Calif. / York) led the way with a career-high 18, marking her first match of the season in double figures.
Caltech took some time to find its footing on offense, posting a negative hitting percentage in the first set due to nine errors. Facing a four-point deficit at 13-9 in the opening set and having recorded just three kills, the Beavers surrendered the final 12 points to fall, 25-9. Whittier used that momentum to surge ahead on an early 12-1 run and cruise to a 25-11 victory in the second set.
The visitors fell into another big hole to start the third set, trailing 11-3, but clawed back within two at 17-15 thanks to a 7-2 run. The Poets would outpace the Beavers down the stretch to close with a 25-19 win.
Freshmen Alexa Lauinger (Ortonville, Mich. / Brandon) and Lauren Li (Bellaire, Texas / Bellaire) notched 13 and 12 digs, respectively, with Lauinger also smacking a team-high eight kills while being responsible for over half the team's 124 attacks, with 64. Li hit a team-best .095 with five kills while freshmen Mei-Ling Laures (Chicago, Ill. / British Int'l School) and Ellie Walker (Minneapolis, Minn. / Blake School) combined for 15 digs.
Head Coach Tom Gardner and the Beavers host the University of Redlands (11-11 overall, 2-10 SCIAC) on Friday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m.