Photo: Bob Paz
CLAREMONT, Calif. (Oct. 15, 2019) – A career day from sophomore Hannah Fan (Saratoga, Calif. / Saratoga) propelled the Caltech volleyball team to perhaps its biggest win of the year, a come-from-behind triumph at Pomona-Pitzer Colleges on Tuesday evening. The Beavers, who trailed the Sagehens two sets to one before taking the final two frames have now won three consecutive games for their second string of three wins or more in 2019.
The versatile outside hitter factored in both offensively and defensively with 20 kills and 29 digs while maintaining a .241 hitting percentage. The sophomore had six of her 20 kills in a do-or-die fourth set, with her final two kills of the frame happening over the final three points of the set. With the Beavers and Sagehens tied at 22 points apiece, kills from Fan and classmate Sydney Richardson (Granite Bay, Calif. / Roseville) gave the visitors plenty to be excited about heading into the final set. Junior Krystyna Maruszko (Redondo Beach, Calif. / Marymount) assisted on all three plays and ended the match with 53 total assists, breaking her own program record from this past August.
Caltech led from wire-to-wire in the decisive set thanks to a 3-1 start. The Beavers' outside depth also came into focus with the match on the line with Richardson, along with senior Lauren Li (Bellaire, Texas / Bellaire) picking up three kills en route to the 15-9 clincher. Maruszko got the Beavers to match point with a service ace at 13-9, then set Li up for the winning kill on the very next point. Richardson finished the match as Caltech's most efficient attacker with nine kills and a .276 percentage while Li had 16 kills and a .270 percentage.
"We feel really good about what we accomplished tonight," Head Coach Tom Gardner said. "We hit well, blocked well and played with a lot of heart. There is a lot of trust among our players and they are following our game plans to the tee."
The Beavers' defensive showing proved to be one of their best of the entire season. Aside from Fan, three players ended the match with 20 digs, including sophomore libero Megan Wang (Henderson, Nev. / Advanced Technologies Academy) (27), senior Alexa Lauinger (Ortonville, Mich. / Brandon) (20) and Maruszko (20). Collectively, Caltech broke 100 total digs also held their own at the net with 17 total blocks to the Sagehens' 14. Sophomore Alison Noyes (Falmouth, Maine / Falmouth) led up front with four assisted blocks and one solo block while contributing an additional seven kills.
Gardner and the Beavers will have a golden opportunity to make it two-in-a-row when they meet Occidental College in the annual Orange Out game on Friday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m.