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Volleyball’s Season Hopes Propelled by Five-Game Winning Streak

Streaks, both winning and losing, often come when they’re least expected. After a rough 0-3 start to the season in the Cal State San Marcos Tournament, it seemed as if the women’s volleyball team would be on their way to another year similar to the last, in which they finished 12-16.

Less than a month into the season, however, things have taken a dramatic turn. Since Aug. 31, the team is on a 6-2 run, including a five-game winning streak punctuated by a sweep of Biola. During the winning streak, junior setter Cara Keturakis and freshman outside hitter Rachael Schlect earned PacWest recognition (PacWest Player of the Week and Freshman of the Week, respectively).

“It’s been good,” said Keturakis. “It’s been pretty cool to start coming together after coming early from the Canada trip, and working hard as a team and watching the chemistry build and become more in unison.”

The chemistry may not have been noticeable during the Sea Lions’ start at Cal State San Marcos, but since then, the results have been noticeable in both the record, and in detail by Head Coach Jonathan Scott, who has been at the helm since 2014.

“We’ve figured a few things out,” said Coach Scott. “We obviously started out a little slow, but we also played some really good teams at the beginning of the year…we’re just starting to steady out a little bit, and win a few of the more important games when it matters.”

When asked which players have stood out over the course of the winning streak, Coach Scott mentioned a few key playmakers, but also felt there were many players who provided leadership.

“Starts with Cara in the center position, she does a really nice job. She keeps our offense steady,” said Coach Scott. “Our additions of graduate student Kayla and freshmen Rachael, they’ve both really contributed in a lot of positive ways on both ends of the court…our leadership kind of permeates, and the girls kind of go with the flow. There’s different leaders at different times in different roles.”

Currently standing at 6-5 with 18 matches left to play following a tough loss at Azusa Pacific, Coach Scott feels that the team still has a chance to win the PacWest Conference this season. Graduate student middle blocker Kayla Chapman agreed.

“I think that we’ve proven that we have the ability to take the conference this year,” said Chapman. “The way that we handled Biola in three sets proves to me that we’re capable of a lot. I can see us going to the postseason and winning as well.”

While competing for a conference title is the team’s expectation, Coach Scott did emphasize that crowd support is a major priority for the team this season, and it could potentially have an impact on the team’s success.

“We’re hoping to really get some support this season from students and the community,” said Coach Scott. “We’ve had a couple of good crowds, couple of good showings from the Green Sea already. This is an exciting program…we’re really building something special this year.”

The Sea Lions next three home games in the Golden Gymnasium include a Sept. 19 matchup against Chaminade (7 p.m.), a Sept. 20 matchup against Hawaii Pacific (7 p.m.) and a Sept. 22 matchup against Hawai’i Hilo (7 p.m.)

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Griffin Aseltine

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