The University of La Verne will not be going back to the Elite Eight – at least not this season.
The Leopards were beaten in the Division III West Region championship match by Colorado College 25-19, 20-25, 19-25, 25-19, 15-9. The loss was a disappointing one because it had more to do with what the Leopards didn’t do than something the Tigers did do. They had trouble with serving, serve receiving and passing – all areas in which they are typically sound.
The Leopards have built such a solid tradition that anything short of a trip to the Elite Eight seems like a disappointment. It’s easy to take that success for granted. But the Leopards dealt with a coaching change as well as injuries, one of which sidelined a key player the last month. So they are to be commended for their showing.
It was also a nice run for the SCIAC schools, Redlands and Cal Lutheran also made the regional and all three won their quarterfinal which validated the fact that they deserved to be there. In fact both Cal Lutheran and La Verne beat other teams that were nationally ranked.
Redlands lost to La Verne and Cal Lutheran lost to Colorado College in the semifinals, both in five sets. So it easily could have been an All-SCIAC final.
All three of those teams return a lot of key players next season so it could be just as much of a dogfight next season.