SAN MARCOS, Calif. (Sept. 7, 2019) – The Caltech volleyball team successfully avenged a key early-season defeat and defeated a team it had previously never beaten in Saturday's tri-match at the University of St. Katherine. The Beavers opened the day with a straight sets victory over the Firebirds (25-21, 25-22, 25-21), then regrouped to take out Providence Christian College in a thrilling five-set victory (22-25, 14-25, 25-21, 25-21, 15-11).
Caltech 3, St. Katherine 0
The volleyball team started its day right with a win over a team that has given it fits in the past. Both teams competed in all three sets but the Beavers surged late in each set to get their first sweep of 2019. The decisive point came on a service ace from sophomore Alexandra Klipfel (Agua Dulce, Calif. / Saugus) who picked up three aces over the three-set match.
Sophomore outside hitter Sydney Richardson (Granite Bay, Calif. / Roseville) led Caltech with 11 kills on 23 attempts to hit .348 overall. The 6-foot-1 sophomore also factored in defensively with two solo blocks, one of which came late in the first set when the Beavers were trailing the Firebirds. Junior setter Krystyna Maruszko (Redondo Beach, Calif. / Marymount) continued her strong start to the season with 30 assists while sophomores Hannah Fan (Saratoga, Calif. / Saratoga) and Alison Noyes (Falmouth, Maine / Falmouth) also contributed to the Beavers' offensive attack. Fan chipped in with eight kills and nine digs while Noyes hit .308 with seven kills.
"It's always nice to get that first win," Head Coach Tom Gardner said. "We had a solid team performance against an opponent we hadn't defeated before."
Caltech 3, Providence Christian 2
Caltech had a tougher go of it with a Providence Christian team it faced off with just over a week ago. Although the Beavers dropped the opening two sets of the match, they came out in the final three sets intent on achieving a different outcome. The volleyball team's resiliency carried it through with a pair of 25-21 wins in the third and fourth sets before getting the clincher at 15-11 in the decisive fifth set. Once again, Caltech's late-set dominance carried itself to the victory. The Beavers won five of the final six points to take the third set and four of the final six points to clinch the match.
Setter Maruszko led the Beavers once again, this time with 34 assists. With Saturday's effort, the junior became the fastest player in program history to hit 136 assists in a season. She also contributed in a variety of ways, both offensively and defensively, thanks to an additional eight kills (.800), 16 digs and three total blocks. Classmate Alexa Lauinger (Ortonville, Mich. / Brandon) added 10 kills of her own (.563) while Richardson had another huge game with 13 kills, the last of which sealed the deal for Caltech. Freshman Charley Lafayette (Toronto, Ontario, Can. / Branksome Hall) had one of the best offensive games of her young career with seven kills (.313) and Klipfel chipped in with an additional 10 kills for the first double-digit game of her career.
"This was an awesome team win," Gardner said. "I was impressed with the way we came through as the pressure intensified."
Gardner and the Beavers will look to make it three-in-a-row when they travel to West Coast Baptist College on Tuesday, Sept. 10 for a 6 p.m. tilt.