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Women’s volleyball struggles at Seaside Invitational and GNAC/PacWest Crossover

PLNU women’s volleyball team finished their opening weekend with a bang. After struggling to get off on the right foot in their first match – dropping a tough game 3-1 to Metro State – the girls went on to win three straight matches to close out the Seaside Invitational.

Alyssa Dwyer, a senior middle blocker for the Sea Lions cited nerves and confidence as conflicting factors in their opener.

“Each individual on the team experiences nerves differently, but as a whole I feel we are confident in our abilities,” said Dwyer.

That confidence may have cost them their first match of the season as Dwyer said they got too comfortable going into the second set against Metro State. A total of 22 errors plagued the squad in their loss.

However, the team picked themselves up and put on a clinic in their next three matches, minimizing their errors while only dropping one set.

Junior outside hitter Heather Leavitt was the key cog offensively racking up 12, 11, and 15 kills against Cal State Monterey Bay, Saginaw Valley State, and Cal State Dominguez Hills, respectively. Dwyer added a stellar 19 kills in the final match of the weekend against Dominguez Hills.

“This past weekend was a good starting point individually and as a team, but there is always room for improvement,” Dwyer said.

That is just what the team seeks to do with the high expectations coming off a NCCAA championship last year.

“The expectations at Point Loma are high every season; this year is no exception,” Dwyer said.

With a experienced and decorated veteran squad, Dwyer and the rest of the team have their eyes set on a NCAA Division II title.

“The only difference this year is that we have been there and accomplished our goals at the NCCAA level,” Dwyer said. “Now it’s time for us to do the same at the NCAA Division II level.”

The team lost all four of their recent games at the GNAC/PacWest Crossover Challenge in Riverside, CA September 11-13. They played Northwest Nazarene University, Central Washington University, Alaska Anchorage University and Western Washington University.

Head Coach Jonathan Scott said that both tournaments were extremely competitive by every team that attended. As for PLNU team, they were unable to pull a victory from the PacWest/GNAC Crossover Challenge, but had a successful Seaside Invite.

“Our main strength was our offensive firepower, but that was also our main weakness,” Scott said. “ We have one of the best offenses in the country when we are under control, but we also get into ruts where we pile up the unforced errors and hand too many points to the opposition.”

The most recent tournament, Scott said, will be used as a learning experience.

“We were able to learn a lot of things about ourselves as well as top regional competition, and we are excited to see how quickly we can make adjustments and get back on track,” he said. “We are prepared to have a very strong season going forward. Now it’s a matter of execution.”