THOUSAND OAKS — The Occidental College women's volleyball team's second crack at No. 8 Cal Lutheran looked a lot like its first.
The Tigers (14-6, 7-5 SCIAC) came out with a flurry in a Game 1 win, lost a dramatic Game 2 and then couldn't find their early success in the next two sets, losing to the Regals 22-25, 28-26, 25-17, 25-16 at the Gilbert Sports Arena on Friday.
On Sept. 22, Oxy dropped a 3-1 decision to CLU after opening the match the same way. In the first meeting, it was a long rally won by the Regals that gave CLU a 24-23 lead in the second set and a huge momentum swing.
On Friday, it was a dramatic replay with the score tied at 25 that had everyone confused. CLU's Kylie McLogan attacked a ball that bounced too fast and too close to the line on Oxy's side of the court for any of the referees to call it in or out. On the retry, Logan Boyer-Hayse's (Boulder, Colo.) attack for the Tigers bounced almost as close to the line, but definitive enough to be called out. McLogan followed with a tip and CLU (18-4, 9-1 SCIAC) took the set a point later.
"(Game 2) was huge. The bottom line, and what it always seems to come down to with us, was our hesitation and miscommunication," Occidental College coach Heather Collins said. "We were working hard and winning long rallies. But after that huge momentum shift we just had a constant run of being undisciplined and tentative."
McLogan led the match with 20.
Oxy's Madyson Cassidy (Arcadia) had a match-high 33 digs, including a diving stop during one of the match's longest rally's that resulted in a Mort kill to give Oxy a 25-24 advantage in the second set.
"She's our saving grace," Collins said. "But it's every time and the team relies on her too much."
In Game 1, Cal Lu jumped out to an 8-3 lead forcing Oxy coach Heather Collins to call a timeout. It slowed the Regals momentum and fired up the Tigers. Mort brought Oxy within one with a kill, 13-12, and neither team led by more than one for the next 20 points. Then Dana Michels (Kirkland, Wash.) and Gann teamed up for a block to make it 23-22 Oxy. Gann followed it up with a kill, and Mort joined Michels for another block to give Oxy the 25th point and a 1-0 lead.
The Game 2 loss seemed to bother Oxy in Game 3.
After falling behind 10-2, The Tigers were able to get back within four, 15-11, but the momentum quickly turned back in the Regals favor and CLU extended another big lead, 20-12.
The Tigers were unlucky and not at their best in the set. As they tried to chip away at the CLU advantage for a second time, Mort attacked a ball that appeared to be deflected off a block and out on the CLU side. The refs didn't see it and instead of Oxy getting to 21-16, the Regals went up 22-15 and finished off the set with three of the next four points.
Boyer-Hayse started out the fourth set with three kills on the Tigers first four points and a refocused Oxy looked like they had shaken off some of their Game 3 struggles. But with the Regals lead at 17-13 CLU rattled off four straight points to take a commanding 21-13 lead and eventually the set.
The Tigers are now 7-3 at the Gilbert Sports Arena in the past two seasons.
Oxy looks to rebound in a 5 p.m. match at Pomona-Pitzer on Saturday.