WHITTIER, Calif. — With two of the best hitters in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference on their squad, it is no secret that the Occidental College women's volleyball team can attack from the outside with the best.
Tigers' setter Jessie Altman realized that after Oxy lost Game 1, so she began an offensive attack of her own that threw a wrench in Whittier's game plan and sparked a 3-0 rally that beat the Poets 20-25, 25-20, 25-21, 25-19 on the road.
"After the first game we knew we had to get more aggressive and give Whittier something to think about," Altman said. "If I could see the middles cheating to the pins to block the side, then I knew I had an open net to tip on."
It was a necessary change of pace to keep the Poets (3-10, 1-2) blockers off balance.
"I really like it when she does that. It just opens up our offense so much more," Collins said. "Blockers have to hold on the setter longer and hopefully get out a little bit later."
Altman had just three kills, but even the tips that did not go down for points created doubt on the other side of the net, opening up opportunities for the Tigers hitters.
The usual suspects, Boyer-Hayse and Gann, posted 13 and 10 kills respectively, but the Tigers also got a surprise nine from Gwynne Davis.
"What Jessie did allowed our offense to move around which opens up our opportunities as hitters," Davis said. "Blockers got confused and we found seams."
Clever play from the Oxy setter was not the only change following a poor first set for the Tigers that helped them turn the match in their favor. Collins said better Oxy serving forced bad passes, making sets much more difficult for Whittier's Alessandra Rios to distribute.
"It made them get out of their system so they had to set the ball over their head," Collins said. "We were able to push them off the net."
Kasey Rose continued her offensive hot steak, leading the Tigers (11-4, 4-1) in kills for the third straight game with 16. Rose, has become a nice third hitter for Oxy; a development she thinks comes from her always-swing-hard attitude.
"I really like to hit instead of tipping," Rose said. I was not taught to tip…. I know the team has my back if it gets blocked which is pretty much how I've been playing."
Oxy has less than 24 hours to recover before their next match at 6 p.m. on Saturday against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at Rush Gymnasium.
"I just see us being more and more aggressive," Altman said. We're getting more comfortable on floor and we'll be ready to play Claremont tomorrow."