Photo: Noelle Davis
PASADENA (Sept. 13, 2019) – The Caltech women's volleyball team pulled out the win in an eventful five-set match with Marymount California University and in doing so secured its best start to a season since 1997 when the Beavers opened up with five wins through the season's first six games. The victory now has Caltech riding a four-game winning streak, the program's longest since 1990.
The grueling match featured some long, exciting points in addition to some strong individual efforts. Junior Krystyna Maruszko (Redondo Beach, Calif. / Marymount) came four assists shy of tying her own single-game record with 46 and is now on pace for the single-season assists record. The setter also helped out in the digs department with 17 to secure a double-double. Friday night yielded a sound defensive performance with five Beavers picking up at least 10 digs. Sophomore libero Megan Wang (Henderson, Nev. / Advanced Technologies Academy) led the way with 35 while senior Alexa Lauinger (Ortonville, Mich. / Brandon), sophomore Hannah Fan (Saratoga, Calif. / Saratoga) and senior Lauren Li (Bellaire, Texas / Bellaire) tailed with 35, 12 and 11 digs respectively.
Caltech opened up the match with a pair of 25-22 wins between the first two sets but had to contend with a tenacious opponent throughout. The Mariners rallied with a tight third set win and more convincing fourth set win and seemingly had the momentum heading into the decisive frame. However, Head Coach Tom Gardner's Beavers made it a point to assert themselves early and forced the visitors to take an early timeout at 3-0 following a Lauinger kill. Throughout the rest of the set, the Beavers managed to keep the Mariners at a multi-point distance, leaning on an ability to thwart Marymount's offensive opportunities with exceptional digs from the likes of Fan and junior Isabel Yang (Arcadia, Calif. / Arcadia). Marymount finally cut the Caltech lead to one at 14-13, but the Beavers regrouped with a timeout before Li's team-leading 15th kill of the match clinched the win for the home team.
The Caltech freshmen also stepped up in a big way. Outside hitter Dallas Taylor (Phoenix, Ariz. / Saguaro) delivered seven kills and a team-best .385 percentage while middle blocker Charley Lafayette (Toronto, Ontario, Can. / Branksome Hall) put forth nine kills of her own in addition to one solo block and three of the Beavers' 12 assisted blocks. Other Caltech offensive leaders included Lauinger and sophomore outsider hitter Sydney Richardson (Granite Bay, Calif. / Roseville) who had nine and eight kills respectively.
Gardner and the Beavers will shoot for further success tomorrow when they travel to the University of Antelope Valley for a Saturday doubleheader.