The Occidental volleyball team (9-13 overall; 5-9 SCIAC) celebrated Senior Night Thursday, but ultimately dropped a hard fought match, 3-1, to Whittier.
During the first set of the night, the Tigers held a 22-18 lead, but the Poets roared back to take the set 25-23. After dropping the second set, the Tigers flipped the narrative during their third, in which Claire Strohm (sophomore) and Sarah Beene (senior) dominated the court with their kills and assists en route to a 25-17 win.
The final set of the night consisted of both highs and lows for the Tigers. Although trailing 13-8, the momentum shifted with a kill by Cassandra Guidice (sophomore). Strohm then tied the game at 16-16 with a kill. Although they put up a good fight, the Tigers could not manage to overcome a series of Poet kills, and Whittier rallied to take the set and, subsequently, the match.
Strohm led the team overall with 12 kills, and it was a big night for Beene, who tallied 33 assists. Kandace Korver (senior) also gave an impressive performance with 20 digs throughout the game. Beene and Korver are the only two seniors on the team.
Despite the loss, the night was special for the two seniors, as Senior Night is designed to commemorate and celebrate them. The seniors were able to reflect on their experiences as Tigers, as they played their final game at Occidental.
“It was a very surreal experience to play my last game as an Oxy athlete,” Korver said via email. “I feel so blessed and grateful to have played four complete seasons with such wonderful teammates. It still shocks me of how fast my Oxy volleyball career went by, but it is comforting to know that I do not regret any minute of all the handwork, commitment and energy I put into being a collegiate student athlete for the last four years. Playing volleyball has been such a fulfilling experience since it pushed me to be a stronger, more mature individual and brought me so close with an incredible group of young ladies. These years as a Oxy volleyball player are truly unforgettable and I will forever keep them near and dear to my heart.”
The walls in Rush Gymnasium were decorated with posters that had messages such as “Sarah Beene, #10 on the court and #1 in our hearts.” Beene spoke about her experience as a member of Occidental’s volleyball team.
“I learned very early on that being a student-athlete at Oxy was going to be a challenge, but I was willing to take it head on,” Beene said. “Being a volleyball player has taught me to be disciplined, organized and hardworking. Especially during the season, it can get very stressful to balance homework, classes, work, practices, and lifting. With all that said, I wouldn’t trade this student-athlete experience for anything.”