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October 21, 2011

TIGERS TAKE DOWN NO. 14 REGALS

By Michael Wells
Sports Information Director
 

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Led by Logan Boyer-Hayse's 15 kills and 19 digs, the Occidental College women's volleyball team knocked off No. 14 Cal Lutheran University at Rush Gymnasium on Friday 25-21, 18-25, 25-18, 25-23, moving one game closer to the first-place Regals in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference standings while earning a huge psychological boost.

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Katie Wiese (Denver, CO) finished one of the evening's longest rallies to end the fourth set and the match, sending the Tigers (15-7, 8-2) into a dog pile at center court after beating the Regals (20-5, 9-1) in a rematch of last year's SCIAC championship — Oxy lost to the Cal Lu in last year's final.

"It was amazing," Wiese said. "After I saw the ball hit the ground it was this intense energy and everyone came running over and it was a huge celebration."

The win ends the first back-to-back match losing skid for the Tigers this season and keeps Oxy in line to host at least a first round SCIAC playoff game as the No. 2 seed.

"It was really nice to see my girls come out tonight ready, focused and believing in themselves," Occidental coach Heather Collins said.  "That's what we've had a little bit of a hard time with this season with when it's been bumpy. Tonight, they came out on fire."

Boyer-Hayse (Boulder, CO) may have needed to play well in this game as badly as the Tigers needed a win over Cal Lu. The junior outside hitter leads the conference in kills per set, but had only posted more than 10 kills in two of her last five games.

"We could have done this all along and it was really our time to step up," Boyer-Hayse said. "We came in with a really aggressive attitude. We we're going to get them and we did that."

Tonight, the All-American was as impressive on defense as she usually is on offense in the showdown between the conference's two best teams.

"Making some key digs, being where she needs to be," Collins said. "She really stepped up."

The win not only keeps Oxy in second place, but also gets them over the psychological hump of beating a team they'd lost to three times last season and once earlier this year.

"It's huge because they're in our conference and we've not beat them in however many games in a row," Collins said. "So it plays with our mental game and really helps our confidence."

Jessie Altman (La Jolla, CA), the SCIAC's leader in assists per set, led the game with 44 and Cal Lutheran's Jackie Russell had 37.

Alyssa Mort (Tucson, AZ) and Altman each had four service aces for Oxy.

Oxy returns to the court tomorrow with a double-header at home, first at noon against West Coast Baptist then at 6 p.m. in the SCIAC Spike Out Breast Cancer Awareness match against Whittier College.