ANGWIN, Calif.- The Pioneers played their second conference game and sought their second home victory against their rivals, the La Sierra University Golden Eagles. It was LSU that opened the first set strongly, jumping out to an early lead with great defensive play. The Pioneers were down by six points early, but began to rally around strong play from their key players, Amanda Loeffler (SR/Hilo Town, HI) and Lauren Purdom (SR/Murrieta, CA). Despite a positive response, the Golden Eagles began to gain steam in the set, going eight points unanswered and taking the set, 25-14.
The Pioneers responded well to a disappointing first set with great, organized defensive play. They opened up strongly, but LSU began to rally, behind tough service from Jr Hannah Schaffer. The Golden Eagles overcame early woes to tie the set up at 14 points a piece. The Pioneers, however, went on a streak, led by big hitting from Amanda Loeffler, Lauren Purdom, and Morgan Spencer (SO/Kailua, HI). The Pioneers' strong play was rewarded as they secured the second set 25-17, tying the sets up at 1-1.
The Pioneers had a slow start to the third set, falling behind 7-3 early. Strong hitting from Amanda Loeffler made it a back and forth affair, however, tying up the set at 9 points apiece. While the Pioneers showed their intent with positive play, a strong defensive showing by the Golden Eagles helped them regain momentum in the set, and they went on a run that secured them the set win, 25-20.
The Pioneers were finally able to start strong in the fourth set. The Pioneers established an early lead, but the Golden Eagles answered back off of strong serving and defensive play, retaking the lead. This set proved to be the most hotly contested set, with strong defensive performances on both sides. It was the Golden Eagles, however, who took control of the set, scoring six unanswered points in a spell of dominance that resembled the first set and positioned LSU to finish the game off. This proved to be decisive, as LSU took the set 25-14 and ended the game, 3-1.
The Pioneers were led by the usual cast of outstanding performers. Amanda Loeffler led the Pioneers with 19 kills and 7 digs. Lauren Purdom added 9 kills on the day. Morgan Spencer also contributed 9 kills and 14 digs. Tiana Whitington led the team with 25 assists.
The Pioneers, who are now 1-4 on the year and 1-1 in conference play, will resume play in Mesa, Arizona September 22 at 2:00pm against Benedictine University at Mesa.