The University of La Verne volleyball team is officially back on the national map.
The Leopards had been one of the perennial national title contenders in the last decade but the program fell off a bit in 2008. Not that they were bad. They had winning records the next couple of years but weren’t quite good enough to move on to the postseason so it wasn’t up to the high standards previously set.
Enter coach Jenna Panatier, who took the reigns of the program in 2011.
In her second year Panatier got the team back in the playoffs. The Leopards (22-6) earned a 3-2 win over Hardin-Simmons (Tex.) on Friday in an NCAA Division III West Region quarterfinal but were upended by a talented Cal Lutheran team 3-1 on Saturday in the semi.
Panatier came into a postseason press conference along with senior setter Kendall Kraiss and talented freshman Brittany Yaxley.
Sure it was a disappointment but the three handled questions from the media with grace and dignity. The siutation is particularly tough for seniors who have played their last match, but Kraiss was poised.
The Leopards graduate four seniors but there is plenty of talent to build around from her on out. SCIAC foes and West Region foes beware!