ORANGE, Calif. —If it were 2012 instead of 2011, Tuesday night's match between Occidental College and Chapman University would have had a major impact on the landscape of the SCIAC standings and postseason tournament seeding.
But because the Panthers (16-7) will not be a full-fledged member of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference until next season, Oxy's loss 25-16, 25-23, 25-15, was just a disappointing non-conference decision on the road.
If it were next year, the two teams would have been sitting in a tie for second place, with both 6-2 against SCIAC competition this year excluding tournament play, and winning the game could have meant the difference between hosting a first round conference playoff game or not.
Instead, the Tigers (14-5) just lose the rubber match badly in the third meeting between the teams this season—Occidental swept Chapman on Sept. 10 in the Posada Royale Invitational tournament, then the Panthers got the better of Oxy on Sept. 24 at Rush Gymnasium in five sets.
Though it mattered less than it will in the future, it was still a game Oxy wanted to perform well in and win.
"Coming out in the beginning we just weren't disciplined and we were hitting the ball to their libero over and over and over so we weren't able to put the ball down," Occidental coach Heather Collins said. "We weren't blocking and doing a lot of the little things so they were rolling right through us."
Not much went right for the Tigers. There was a stretch though, when Aly Fritz sparked a 5-0 rally with three of her seven kills that gave them a 22-17 edge, their largest lead of the night and only string of points where Collins felt the team played well.
"Aly just really showed the team how to be aggressive and get after it," Collins said. "We needed to have someone come in and show us the way and she really picked the team up with her leadership in terms of doing the right things."
Stephanie Gann, who carried Oxy offensively recording 12 kills of her 13 kills her first 24 attacks, attributed the off night to uncharacteristic communication problems.
"We had a lot of communication errors and there were a lot of people bumping into each other. With that we weren't playing as aggressively," Gann said. "There was a stretch of points in the same game where we were really fired up and really played aggressively. And then there was a point where again our communication fell off and that seemed to be a theme throughout the night."
All-American outside hitter Logan Boyer-Hayse went without a kill in her first 11 attacks and just 6-32 on the night.
The Tigers have double-header on Oct. 18, against Cal Tech at 4 p.m. and La Sierra at 7:30 p.m., then host first-place Cal Lutheran at home on Oct. 21.