ORANGE, Calif. – Down two sets to one, the Chapman University volleyball team stormed back to defeat Cal Lutheran 20-25, 25-23, 18-25, 25-14, 15-9 to advance the championship round of the SCIAC Postseason Tournament. The Panthers (23-4) advance to take on Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the championship match on Saturday.
Sophomore Jessi Lumsden overcame a slow start to finish with a match-high 16 kills as well as 18 digs to lead the Panthers. Sophomore Sophie Srivastava had 30 digs to go along with her 27 assists and eight kills while sophomore Erika Wiles hit .200 and had 15 kills. SCIAC Newcomer of the Year Cat Helgeson put up 26 digs in the five-set win.
The Panthers hosted a SCIAC Tournament match for the first time since joining the conference in 2012 and advanced to the championship for just the second time.
Samantha Landrum and Maci Haddad were forces at the net all night with 15 kills apiece. Haddad hit .400 with four total blocks while Landrum hit an efficient .250 from the right side. Carly Rose Howard had 29 digs in the back row.
The Panthers dropped the first set after hitting .085 but pulled out the narrow victory in the second set to even the match. Cal Lutheran (17-11) sprinted out to an early 9-3 lead and led by five as late as 21-16. The Panthers rattled off six straight points to come all the way back and eventually win it on freshman Reagan Duguid's kill.
The Regals turned a 17-17 tie into a 25-18 win without Landrum and Haddad on the floor. Mackenzie Martinez put up three of her eight blocks in the match to fuel the late run and advantage in the match.
Momentum swung in the fourth as the Panthers went out to a 9-3 lead and controlled the set the rest of the way to force the fifth and deciding set. Chapman hit .370 in the fourth set, making just two hitting errors the entire set. Wiles had four kills on five swings in the fourth while Lumsden put down three kills on 11 swings with no errors.
The attack stayed hot in the fifth set as the Panthers ran away late, scoring the last five points of the match to advance to the championship. Chapman hit .348 in the fifth, getting blocked just once for the Panthers' only error in the set.
After Haddad made it 10-9 Chapman with a deep tip, the Panthers came out of a timeout determined. Junior Mavis Lui slammed down a kill, followed by Lumsden's 16th kill. A Cal Lutheran timeout didn't slow down the Panthers as Wiles put away her final kill after the Regal's previous attack went long to set up match point.
The Regals tried to rush their libero back on the floor but she ran into the wrong rotation as Lui sent off the final serve. The whistle blew for the violation and Chapman took the win on their home floor.
After hitting .000 through her first 27 swings with just five kills, Lumsden hit .300 through the final three sets and collected 11 more kills on the next 27 swings.
The Panthers take on CMS on Saturday at 4 p.m. in the championship round of the SCIAC Postseason Tournament with winner taking the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Championship.
By Steven Olveda
Sports Information Director