SEASIDE, Calif. --- A pair of games against St. Martin’s was just what the doctor ordered for California Baptist University Saturday night as the Lancers got in the win column with two victories over the Saints.
CBU defeated SMU 3-1 (25-15, 25-23, 22-25, 27-25) in the early match and then, facing the Saints once again in the Otter Classic fifth place matchup, the Lancers scored a 3-0 (25-18, 25-19, 25-21) win.
“We got better with each match this weekend,” said CBU Head Coach Branden Higa. “We have three new players on the court, so this is a team that needs to be tested. As we relaxed I think we realized what we could do and how well we can play. The girls were much more focused and ready to play today.”
The Lancers blasted their way into the win column, downing St. Martin’s in four sets early thanks to a big performance by freshman Lauren Marr. Marr posted15 kills, hitting a blistering .467 in the match to lead the Lancers.
After cruising through the opening set, CBU traded games with the Saints before the two battled into extra points in the final set.
CBU went up 19-16 late in the game, but SMU battled back, evening the match at 19-19 as the teams would trade points down the stretch. With the set tied 25-25, Marr ripped a kill to give the Lancers match points and then stepped back to the line and served an ace to win it.
Marr also had a solo block and six digs in the match. Kim McCalmont posted her third straight double-double with 15 kills and 10 digs, and Jelena Dragovic added 10 kills and three blocks. Malika O'Brien led CBU with five total blocks.
SMU’s Kristyn Ross led all players with 22 kills. No other Saint was in double figures.
It was O’Brien leading the way late as the sophomore put up 12 kills and four blocks to account for 17 CBU points.
CBU fell behind early in the third after dominating the first two games, but got a big kill by Dragovic and a block at the net by McCalmont and O’Brien to open up a five point run and take an 8-7 lead. CBU would continue to pull away from there, cruising to the victory.
O’Brien hit .558 in the match and Dragovic posted a .538 hitting percentage as the two CBU middles found their stride. The Lancers hit .333 in the contest.
“Lauren was unstoppable in that first match,” said Higa. “We leaned on her in that one and she got in a good groove against a favorable matchup for her. Then in the late game Taylor Parker got in good flow with the middles and our outside hitters really benefited from them being present and available. It was our passing that got us in that good flow. That part of your game really picked up.”
The pair of wins evens CBU’s record at 2-2 on the young season.