Lion Comeback Falls Short in Heartbreaker
LMU fell for the first time this season on Friday versus Idaho.
Sept. 4, 2009
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - LMU (3-1) fell for the first time this season, as a comeback fell short against Idaho (3-1), 25-22, 25-22, 15-25, 21-25, 15-13, in a five-set heartbreaker played at Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nev. LMU out-hit Idaho in three of the five sets, and matched the Vandals' mark in the final set, but was unable to record the victory.
Idaho's Sarah Conwell paced all players with a match-high 27 kills on 59 attacks for a .407 hitting percentage, teaming that mark with a team-best 15 digs for a double-double. Freshman Alaina Bergsma was not too far behind for LMU, notching 19 kills. She teamed the kill mark with 11 digs to record a double-double of her own. Fellow freshman Kenna Crouse had a standout match on Friday night, totaling 13 kills on 16 attacks with only one error for a .750 hitting percentage. In addition, Crouse served-up an incredible six aces, helping LMU to 10 on the match, while totaling five block assists. Junior Becky Stehling also collected double-digit kills, adding 12 and hitting .526 on 19 swings. Sophomore Ariana Covington teamed 12 kills and 10 digs for a double-double, while sophomore setter, Alesha Young, passed-out a match-high 54 assists and collected 17 digs for a double-double of her own. Young's assists guided LMU to a .299 hitting percentage over the course of the match.
Feeding Conwell balls as Idaho's setter, Katie Tribley collected 48 assists as the Vandals hit .239 as a team. Proving strong from the service area as well, Idaho managed seven total aces, highlighted by three from Meredith Rice. The Vandals out-blocked the Lions, 14-9, led by Anna McKinney's one block solo and seven block assists.
Both teams came out swinging in the first set, as the Lions hit .441 (20-5/34) and Idaho posted a mark of .531 (18-1/32) to take the set, 25-22. Conwell got off on the right foot, collecting eight kills on 14 swings with no errors. Bergsma nearly matched the effort, posting seven kills on 12 attacks with three digs for the Lions. The first set played close throughout, as the teams saw 11 tie scores and six lead changes. The biggest lead for either team was three points, held by the Lions on three different occasions, with the latest coming at 17-14 on a Crouse kill. Unfortunately for LMU, Idaho would battle back to even, and then to one point ahead, by scoring each of the next four points to run the tally to 18-17, forcing a Lion timeout. LMU would not rebound out of the break, as Conwell recorded three of the final points via kill, including the final tally to put the set away.
As hot as both teams were in the first set, they came out on the opposite end of the spectrum in the second. LMU hit just .135 in the second set, while Idaho managed an even lower .111. Stehling led all players with five kills, connecting on each of her chances with no errors. Young also had a successful showing on the attack in the second set, collecting four of her six match kills. Alicia Milo was the leading hitter for the Vandals, notching four kills on nine attacks. Rice also helped Idaho to the slim 25-22 victory, serving-up two aces from the service area. Similar to set one, set two also saw a bit of a see-saw battle, featuring 10 tie scores and five lead changes.
After dropping two close sets to start the match, the Lions came out determined to put up a fight over the second half of play. LMU turned-in a lopsided 25-15 victory in set three, holding the Vandals to a .174 hitting percentage and posting a .370 mark of its own. A well-balanced offense proved effective in the period, as Crouse managed three kills and posted three aces to help lead the way. Bergsma contributed five kills and an ace, while Covington notched three from the outside. Crouse nearly single-handedly led the Lions to a 12-5 lead in the set, collecting three kills and two service aces to that point. The lead grew to 21-13 on a kill from Covington and a Bergsma service ace to force an Idaho timeout. The break did little to slow the momentum as LMU posted the next two points out of the huddle, capping a six-point swing for the Lions at 23-13. After taking the set to its final point, Crouse fittingly put the final point away with her third ace of the period.
LMU evened the match score at two sets apiece with a 25-21 victory in the fourth set. Crouse once again paced the way, collecting five kills on as many attacks with two more service aces. Always good for a few points from the outside, Bergsma and Covington collected four and three kills, respectively. Conwell was the Idaho offense in the period, notching a set-best eight kills in a losing effort. After the Lions took a 15-10 lead, Crouse took over and pushed the Lions toward the goal. The freshman posted a kill for point 16 before recording back-to-back service aces to run the tally to 19-10. Idaho would cut the deficit dramatically over the final stretch, but LMU fended off the potential comeback en route to the victory.
In a very evenly-fought final set to 15, Idaho emerged as the victor of the match, earning a 15-13 win. A pair of kills from Covington, Stehling, Bergsma and Crouse were not enough to defeat the duo of Conwell and Milo from Idaho. Conwell notched six kills to Milo's four. Idaho earned an 11-7 lead on a Rice service ace to force a Lion timeout. LMU got within two points at 12-10 on Young's only service ace of the match, forcing a Vandal timeout. Down 14-11 and facing match-point, LMU posted two unanswered tallies on a kill from Covington and an ace from Crouse, resulting in the final timeout of the match. The breather did its job as Idaho emerged from the huddle and got the ball to Milo for the final kill and the victory.
LMU returns to action tomorrow at 10 a.m. when it squares-off against No. 9 UCLA.