Women's Volleyball: First Years Shine As Sagehens Sweep Season Openers

Women's Volleyball: First Years Shine As Sagehens Sweep Season Openers

CLAREMONT, CA. – Pomona-Pitzer Women's Volleyball dominated their season openers, pulling off two sweeps on the first day of the Pacific Coast Classic. The Sagehens cruised to an easy 3-0 (25-21, 25-17. 25-20) victory against University of Dallas followed by a 3-0 shutout over Benedictine University (Ill.) (25-20, 25-19, 25-18). Naomi Chen-Mallouk impressed in her collegiate debut, earning double-digit kills in both matches while Isabel Kelly and Grace Fan stood out on the block.

Season Impact: The Sagehens open the season with a 2-0 record.

Pomona-Pitzer 3, Dallas 0 (25-21, 25-17, 25-20)

Adrienne Tong directed the Sagehens' offense to a sure victory, delivering 29 assists, while Naomi Chen-Mallouk led the team with 11 kills in her debut. The Sagehens' defense did an excellent job shutting down Dallas in the air, limiting them to a -.037 hitting percentage.

The Sagehens settled early in the opening set, managing to break away with a big rally after tying the score 4-4 off a block by Kelly and Addo-Ashong. The block sparked a 5-0 run that gave the home side a comfortable 8-4 lead. The Sagehens continued to stuff Dallas' offense above the net, scoring off two consecutive blocks by Tong and Addo-Ashong to lead 11-5. Dallas responded with a 5-1 rally late in the first period to cut the deficit 22-21, but an attack error by Dallas' Anna Stephenson and a combined block by Grace Fan and Isabel Kelly put the Sagehens within one. Kelly delivered a kill into the gaps off a pass by Lauren Asato to seal the set 25-21.

The home team continued to roll in the second set, as Tong directed the offense to an 8-4 lead. The Sagehens rallied for seven straight points thanks to a slew of errors by Dallas to lead 17-6. While Dallas rallied back with four straight thanks to the service of Dayjah White, the Sagehens closed out the match in spectacular fashion. Leading 23-17, Tong delivered a well-executed quick toss to a racing Grace Fan for the kill to make it 24-17. In the next serve, Izzy made a big time save in the back, playing a missed reception that flew to the back of the court over and swung the ball over the net. After Dallas attempted a kill on the receive, Tong made a quick dig and Fan hit a deflected kill to clinch the set 25-17.

Pomona-Pitzer wasted little time to take a significant lead, getting ahead 7-2 thanks to Isabel Kelly's contributions who added two kills and a block during that run. However, Dallas chipped away and managed to tie the game at 10 apiece. The two sides traded points and later with the game tied at 19, the Sagehens pulled away with a four-point run, including two kills by Chen-Mallouk and a service ace by Izzy Deatherage. Chen-Mallouk closed out the match with a deflected kill off a pass by Tong.

Pomona-Pitzer 3, Benedictine (Ill.) (25-20,25-19, 25-18)

The second match for the Sagehens played out similarly as their last match as the home side held Benedictine University to a .109 hitting percentage and hit .309. Adrienne Tong delivered 35 assists and a team-high four service aces while Chen-Mallouk and Vicky-Marie Addo-Ashong co-led the offense with 10 kills. First year Lauren Asato protected the floor, leading the team with 17 digs, and Grace Fan had four blocks.

Pomona-Pitzer opened the match with an early 4-0 rally to take a 6-2 lead thanks to back-to-back kills by Chen-Mallouk. The Sagehens later went on a 4-1 run capped by a free ball kill by Addo-Ashong to extend the lead 20-13. The Eagles chipped away and cut the deficit 20-18, but Deatherage managed to stop the bleeding with a kill into the back corner to make it 21-18. After assisting Fan to make it 23-20, Tong closed out the set with two straight service aces.

The Eagles got to a hot start in the second set with a 4-0, but Adrienne Tong rallied the offense back during her serve, leading the Sagehens to a 10-0 run for a 12-5 lead. Later with the Sagehens up 13-7, Deatherage scored one of her most impressive hits of the night when she crushed a quick toss by Tong that deflected off the chest of Delaney Soto of Benedictine to go ahead 14-7. The Sagehens continued to hold off the Eagles as Deatherage closed out the set with a kill off a pass by Asato.

The two sides battled back and forth in the third set, but the Sagehens managed to build significant distance while ahead 16-15, going on a 6-0 run thanks to several errors by the Eagles and a pair of kills by Addo-Ashong. Addo-Ashong clinched the match with a well-placed kill into the gaps.

Up Next: The Sagehens will return to Voelkel Gym tomorrow for the final day of the Pacific Coast Classic as they face Wentworth Institute of Technology at 11:30 a.m. and Kean University at 3:45 p.m.