By Kay Hurd
La Verne Athletics Communication
LA VERNE, Calif. – The University of La Verne volleyball team took down No. 10 Hendrix, 25-20, 25-18, 25-19, to open the season on Friday afternoon at the Sports Science and Athletic Pavilion.
The middle-blocking duo of Robinson and Thompson combined for 20 kills and a .526 hitting percentage. Tiffany Mancuso dished out 38 assists, two more than Hendrix had up as a team.
With a two-set lead, La Verne stayed composed and looked to their big hitters to make plays and it paid off.
And the defense did its job as well. The Leopards recorded 50 digs and committed only six errors. "Our defense stayed disciplined and did their jobs, which opened it up for our hitters," La Verne head coach Jenna Panatier said.
The Leopards opened the first set with back-to-back kills from Kelsie Sievers and Kelsi Robinson to jump ahead 3-0. La Verne held the cushion until Hendrix turned up the pressure when a 5-1 rally tied up the set at 16-16. Two straight service aces from Sarah Yauchzee gave the Leopards a two-point advantage. Hendrix was unable to close the gap and La Verne took the set 25-20.
The Warriors lit the fire to start the second set, jumping out to a 6-2 lead behind three straight kills from Lauren Petrisin, MC Rogers and Allison Gaia. After a timeout, the Leopards battled back to take over after Marisa Rojo slammed two consecutive kills. The Leopards blew open the set once Kaylee Johnson stepped up to serve. The senior served six times to put the Leopards ahead 24-17; Rojo jammed one down to take the set 25-18.
La Verne and Hendrix would battle in the third set looking for any edge, but ultimately, the Leopards outlasted the Warriors. Robinson, Rojo, and Thompson showed their leadership, completing the sweep of the ranked Hendrix.
Thompson finished with 12 kills, a .550 hitting percentage, and two blocks, Rojo boasted 11 kills in her Leopard debut and a .321, and Robinson tallied eight kills and four blocks.