THOUSAND OAKS — The Occidental College women's volleyball team was the only SCIAC school that had not been swept at least once by No. 8 Cal Lutheran this season headed into Thursday's SCIAC semifinal, but now even they can't make that claim.
SCIAC Player of the Year Kylie McLogan looked sharp – leading the match with 17 kills – and Oxy couldn't get over the hump late in sets, losing 25-21, 25-21 25-20 at the Gilbert Sports Arena.
"The biggest difference is that Cal Lu played a very solid and steady game and we were always just a few steps behind due to unforced errors," said Oxy coach Heather Collins, who is just one game shy of her second 20-win season in two years at Occidental. "Specifically the unforced serving errors and undisciplined block."
Cal Lu (26-4) advances to face Chapman on Saturday in the SCIAC Tournament Championship match with the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament at stake. Oxy (19-10) sits hoping the committee calls its number during the selection show on Nov. 5 at 8 a.m.
It would be a stretch if the Tigers got in as the likely fourth SCIAC team, but the three SCIAC teams that finished ahead of them in conference play are the top three teams in the West Region. Oxy came into the week as the Region's No. 8 team.
"It's out of our hands at this point," Collins said. "We can only hope for the best and hopefully that means us getting to continue our season."
Logan Boyer-Hayse (Boulder, Colo.), who was named First Team All-SCIAC earlier in the day, led the Tigers with 13 kills and hit .393. If the Tigers don't get a bid to the NCAA tourney, the senior outside hitter finishes her career as one of Oxy's best volleyball players of all-time with 1,607 kills.
Oxy's Stephanie Gann (Tacoma, Wash.) finished with 10 kills, hitting .474.
"I think Steph was the offensive standout and did a fabulous job," Collins said. "She was just really aggressive, smart and effective."
Oxy rattled off five unanswered points to go up 10-5 and controlled most of the first set. Madyson Cassidy (Arcadia) had an ace, Dana Michels (Kirkland, Wash.) and Megan Olayinka (Corvallis, Ore.) teamed up for a block and Michels put away consecutive kills during the run to give Oxy the biggest advantage of the game. CLU made a run to tie the set at 11 on a kill from McLogan, Allie Eason scored a point from the outside to put the Regals up 17-16 and CLU finished the set on a 10-5 run to take Game 1.
After a slow start to Game 2, Oxy tied the set at 13 when Jessie Altman (La Jolla) and Gann both got their hands on a block and a McLogan attack went into the net. CLU quickly responded with the next two points, but the Tigers kept chipping away, tying the set at 18 on back-to-back kills from Gann and Michels and then again at 20 on a service error by CLU's Kennedy Peters. But the Regals won five of the next six points to take a 2-0 lead.
Oxy struggled in Game 3, starting the set in a 10-2 hole. Boyer-Hayse put an overpass down for a point to bring Oxy within four, 18-14, but the Tigers couldn't get closer.
Alyssa Mort (Tucson, Ariz.), Cassidy and Altman highlight a group of 11 returners.