THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Southwestern continued their tear through the 2011 season with four wins at the Cal-Lu-fornia Invitational hosted by California Lutheran University. The wins put the Pirates at 7-0 to start the season despite facing some of the top competition in the nation.
Southwestern opened the weekend with Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on Friday and were slow to start as the Athenas snuck game one 21-25. The Pirates bounced back to dominate game two 25-12 and rolled to the four set win with victories in sets three and four 25-16, 25-20. Rachel Thibodeau headed up the attack with 14 kills while Sarai Tenerelli (pictured) and Christina Nicholls both has 13 digs.
Redlands was slated next for SU and proved to be no match for the mighty Pirates as they cruised to a three set win, 25-16, 25-11, 25-18, to close out day one. Allison Stubbs led the attack for Southwestern with 12 kills.
Day two the Pirates were pitted first against Pomona Pitzer and with a balanced attack that saw 11 players with kills, five with five or more. Southwestern cruised to the win in three sets, not allowing the Tritons more than 20 points in any set, winning 25-17, 25-13, 25-20.
The final match of the invitational was the showcase, pitting Southwestern University, currently ranked #14 in the nation, with tournament host, #10 California Lutheran. SU started sharp and won the first set with 17 kills and just four errors as a team, taking the set 25-21.
CLU responded by winning the second set, 25-18 as the Pirates hitting percentage plummeted to .103 percent. Set three was an even worse performance by the SU attack, but their defense picked up the slack to lift the Pirates to the 25-19 win.
The Regals came storming back in the fourth set, feeling the pressure, and mount an 11-5 lead over Southwestern. The never say die fight of the Pirates brought them back even at 15-15, but CLU forged ahead once again to lead 22-20. SU rattled off five straight points to take the set 25-22 and win the match.
Stubbs led with 14 kills while Thibodeau and Lindsay Thompson added in 11 each. The real difference maker in the match was Tenerrelli who was all over the court defensively, recording 39 digs to hold the Regals in check.
Southwestern remains on the road and continues to face tough competition as they head to the Trinity National Invitational on Friday and Saturday.