The Orion

Volleyball team loses in five sets to Golden Eagles

Nick Reddy

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Sophomore Torey Tompson with the serve at Acker Gymnasium October 5, 2014. Photo credit: John Domogma

On a night when the San Francisco Giants won an 18-inning drama, the Chico State women’s volleyball team played one of their own.

Taking on a strong Cal State L.A. squad that came into Acker Gym on a four match winning streak, the Wildcats dropped two sets then stormed back to win the next two. With a boisterous home crowd behind them, the ‘Cats took the Golden Eagles to a fifth set but couldn’t cap the comeback. The Cats lost 17-25, 18-25, 25-12, 25-23, and 19-21.

The first set saw the Golden Eagles set up their formidable blocking defense and powerful play at the net, showing why they are one of the top tier squads in the California Collegiate Athletic Association. Cal State L.A. led most of the set, beating the ‘Cats by eight.

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Senior Ellie Larronde drives the ball through Cal State Los Angele's block attempt at Acker Gymnasium Saturday, October 5, 2014. Photo credit: John Domogma

Shaking off a slightly sluggish initial set, the ‘Cats kept it close until the end of the second set. The Golden Eagles racked up big kills and blocks to take the set going away.

Determined to avoid being swept, the ‘Cats came roaring out of the break, hitting over, through and around the Golden Eagle blocking. The ‘Cats won convincingly 25-12 to prolong the match.

Wildcat fans were treated to several lengthy rallies in the fourth set, with the ‘Cats winning the momentum swinging points. First years Anu Munkhtur and Olivia Mediano played big roles in forcing the decisive fifth set.

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Wildcat Senior Lindsay Quigley gets set up by Torey Tompson at Acker Gymnasium, October 5, 2014. Photo credit: John Domogma

Assistant Coach Tommy Gott said it was great to see Mediano and Munkhtur play with confidence in the pressure filled match.

“I thought Olivia came in and played excellent,” said Gott of the freshman, who had eight kills and nine digs.

Munkhtur had two of the Wildcat’s seven aces and picked up six digs.

“Anu has a great serve. When her serve is on it has a lot of pace, and pace causes problems,” Gott said.

In an epic final frame, the ‘Cats were down 5-8 yet battled through to find themselves at 14-12 over the Golden Eagles. With the crowd on its feet from then on, the ‘Cats were unable to cash in on multiple chances to win the match. The ‘Cats finally submitted well beyond the 15 point mark in a nail biting finish, 19-21.

Lindsay Quigley led the ‘Cats with 18 kills and five blocks and fellow middle hitter Kristyn Casalino added 10 kills. Ellie Larronde contributed 15 kills on an efficient .342 hitting percentage. Setter Torey Thompson tied a season high with 59 assists.

“It was a good game but it’s still a tough loss,” said senior libero Emily Duran, who had a team high 16 digs.

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Freshman Shannon Cotton receives the serve against Cal State Los Angeles October 5, 2014 at Acker Gymnasium. Photo credit: John Domogma

“I think this might be the best we’ve played as a team. If we can just keep that in the back of our minds and that we’re capable and that we can play that good when we chose to, I think that can really motivate us,” she said.

Nick Reddy can be reached at [email protected] or @NickIsReddy on Twitter.

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Volleyball team loses in five sets to Golden Eagles