Volleyball beats No. 9 Southwestern in season opener

LA VERNE, CA — The University of La Verne volleyball team got off to a two-set lead and held on in the fourth set for a big 3-1 win over No. 9 Southwestern in the Leopards' season opener.

Season Impact

La Verne starts off the year with an impressive win. This is the second year in a row the Leopards have opened the year with a win over a top-10 opponent. Last season, La Verne took down then No. 10 UT Dallas in the Pacific Coast Classic.

Set Scores: 25-22, 25-21, 19-25, 25-22

Stat Leaders

 Freshman Haley Celaya had an outstanding game in her Leopard debut. The Covina native had a game-high 19 kills in her first match in the green and orange. Sophomore Emma Estigoy had a big game for La Verne, putting down 12 kills.

Madison Maynes dished out 46 assists in the game to go with nine kills. Kristen Sanchez led all players with 29 digs to go with three assists and an ace. Junior Briana Voght led the Leopards with three block assists.

How it Happened

In the opening set with the scored tied 22-22, the Leopards caught a break when a ball handling error put La Verne back on top. Maynes then came in clutch, closing out the set with back-to-back aces. 

In the second set, the Pirates surged ahead taking a 21-15 advantage after an attack error by the Leopards. But then La Verne went to work, scoring the next nine points to take the lead and the 2-0 advantage in the match. Celaya was huge during the stretch spiking down four kills with senior Kelsie Sievers adding two big kills of her own.

Southwestern wouldn't be shutout, responding in the third set with four kills from Haven Cathey to force a fourth set.

That's as close as the match would get. Estigoy led the Leopards with six kills in the fourth frame with La Verne leading by as many as 10 points in the set. The Pirates chipped away at the Leopards lead, getting to within a point at 21-20. But kills by Sievers and Celaya and a pair of errors by Southwestern sealed the game.

The Leopards dropped their second game of the day to Salisbury 3-0 (27-25, 25-14, 25-21)

Kelsie Sievers led the Leopards with 11 kills with Emma Estigoy adding seven. Madison Maynes had 23 assists and 18 digs. Kristen Sanchez totaled 14 digs in the match. 

Nicole Venturelli led Salisbury with nine kills.

Next Game

The Leopards continue the Pacific Coast Classic tomorrow against No. 6 Johnson and Wales at 11:45 a.m.