CLAREMONT – La Verne’s women’s volleyball team hung with No. 2 Juniata all night on Saturday. The Leopards just couldn’t hang on. A night earlier, La Verne (11-6, 6-1), the No. 4 team in the CSTV/AVCA Coaches poll, hit .167 in a 3-1 loss (30-15, 30-28, 15-30, 30-21) to Cal Lutheran, the Leopards’ first defeat in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference since falling to Lutheran in a forfeit in 2001. The next night, its attack thwarted by a Juniata team (17-1) quick on the dig and the block, La Verne dropped the final two games after rallying for a 33-31 win in Game 2. La Verne trailed for much of the opening game before taking a brief 29-28 lead on an errant Juniata attack. But the Leopards lost that advantage in falling, 32-30, and after holding on for a win in Game 2, they lost chances to take a firm lead in both Games 3 and Game 4. An ace from junior Kimberly Fitzsimmons – whose sister Kristi started at setter for Juniata – tied that game at 20-20. But the Eagles ended that with a 10-4 run and then won the match in Game 4 by coming from behind after Kimberly Fitzsimmons gave the Leopards a 22-20 lead. “Executing,” said senior Mandy Sedia, who said she couldn’t remember the last time La Verne lost two consecutive matches. “We need to finish.” La Verne led 29-28 on a kill from Whitney Kranz, but two blocking errors and a kill from junior Rachael Schatz gave Juniata a 31-29 win. A night after seeing its SCIAC record 56-game winning streak snapped at un-ranked Cal Lutheran, No. 4-ranked La Verne fell in four games to the Eagles at Pomona’s Rains Center in a match that saw the Leopards within striking distance in each game. “I felt we matched up well against them,” said La Verne head coach Don Flora, whose team lost 32-30, 31-33, 30-24, 31-29. “They’ve got two All-Americans in the middle and I thought at times we played with them. At times they got the best of us. … And that was the difference.” “We were playing the No. 2 team and we needed to get more fired up to play,” Sedia said. “We need to refocus and learn (from this).” Because the back-to-back losses to Juniata and Cal Lutheran (10-0, 7-0) shouldn’t hurt the Leopards in the polls. And because the conference title is still up for grabs, even if La Verne’s record streak is over. “It’s great to be known as the best ever SCIAC era,” said Flora, reflecting on La Verne’s 56 consecutive conference wins. “Nobody has been close.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!