The Point Loma women’s volley- ball team have guaranteed their spot in the NCAA West Regional Tournament -on December 3- after beating Concordia University (CU) in their final game of the season, 3-0 last Saturday.
The win marked the Sea Lion’s thirteenth win in their last 14 matches, and improved their record to 20-9 on the season.
Second-year head coach Jonathan Scott said the season hasn’t always been an easy ride for them, despite the lopsided victory.
“[This season has been] An abso- lute emotional roller-coaster,” said Scott. “We have six seniors who I ab- solutely adore. We’ve had some strug- gles, but we’ve also played some of the best volleyball that I know is being played in the country, and we’re not ready for it to end.”
It was a win-or-go-home scenario for the team prior to their final game of the season. With a sixth seed in the regional ranking poll –all top eight seeds qualify for the tournament heading into the match- the team could not afford to lose against a Concordia squad they haven’t faced all season.
But the recent success hasn’t al- ways been consistent this year.
At the halfway point of the schedule, the Sea Lions were 8-8—a record that would have kept them out of play- off contention.
And much like the team’s season, he game had many highs and lows. Fast-forward to Saturday’s game. On match point, junior Christin Fisher – who has led the team in digs for the past three consecutive seasons with 508 this year – leaped to dig out a kill from Concordia’s front line, which then resulted in a Heather Leavitt spike.
“It’s all pretty much [reading] the hitter,” said Fisher. “Where she’s facing, you have to read her hips, her shoulders, her arm and her elbow—if she drops it. And it also depends on our blockers, like how we set up our block –we always have a call for our blockers- so it just depends on that.”
If only it were that easy.
Concordia University dug the ball out on their side and tied the match at 24-24. Eventually, however, the Sea Lions closed out the match after a penalty was issued to CU after an illegal player came to the net to spike the ball.
The implications of the match were evident in the Sea Lion’s body language on the court—they knew what was at stake as they were constantly communicating with each other.
Sophomore Bethany Mandon, who leads the team in blocks with 81 for the second consecutive year, said communication is crucial for the team.
“It’s so much of an emotional sport. So I think for us—being loud and talking about things and encouraging one another and stuff like that, it’s so important. I think that can make or break it,” said Mandon. “When people start getting silent or bicker- ing—that’s when things cause problems. So constantly having that energy and excitement -especially in a game like volleyball- I think that’s a big part for us.”
From an individual performance, it was a special game for Leavitt and senior Savannah Wedemeyer. After notching her second kill of the game, Leavitt surpassed 1,500 career kills— which puts her at sixth place all-time behind Rochelle Short. This came at the same time as senior Savannah Wedemeyer came into the match third all-time in school history in career assists with 3,946. Wedemeyer led the team with 31 assists in her final regular season game as a Sea Lion.
The PLNU women’s volleyball team will take their momentum into the first round of the NCAA West Regional Tournament this Thursday in an effort to eventually qualify for the Division II Championship at the Bob Martinez Athletics Center in Tampa, Florida.