HIGH POINT, N.C. -
Sophomore Litara Keil recorded a match-high tying 16 kills while hitting .538 to help LMU (6-3) to a sweep of George Mason (2-8) by scores of 25-18, 25-21, 31-29 on Saturday afternoon at the High Point Invitational in High Point, N.C. With the victory, LMU finished 2-1 at the tournament, including 2-0 on Saturday.
The 16 kills marked a new career-high for Keil, who had previously managed 14 against Santa Clara on November 5, 2011. Junior Kathleen Luft, who earned All-Tournament honors at conclusion of play, also had 16 kills with six digs and three aces, ending a string of three straight matches with a double-double. LMU once again went to a dual-setter offense, utilizing the strengths of both Hannah Tedrow and Ashley Maxfeldt. Tedrow finished the match with 30 assists, while Maxfeld narrowly-missed back-to-back double-double performances with 21 assists and seven digs.
While the offense hit .259 en route to the sweep, junior libero Betsi Metter did her part on defense to ensure victory, collecting a match-best 21 digs to accompany one of LMU's six service aces. The 21 digs are the 10th-best mark in a three-set match for the Lions since 1998. LMU's blocking corps also came to play on Saturday afternoon, combining for seven team blocks, including four block assists from Keil. Overall, LMU limited George Mason to a .179 hitting percentage, and now has allowed just a .153 opponent hitting percentage over the first nine matches of the year.
As it did against High Point in the first match of the day, LMU came out strong in the first set. The Lions hit .368 over the period, including four kills apiece from Kenna Crouse, Keil, Luft and Felicia Arriola. Crouse and Arriola both finished the match with double-digit kills, collecting 13 and 11, respectively. The blocking, aces and digs marks were virtually even in the first for both teams, but LMU limited George Mason to a .143 hitting percentage en route to claiming the opener at 25-18.
While both offenses cooled off in the second, LMU still managed to outhit the Patriots by a count of .170-.094. Luft came alive in the second, connecting for six kills and one ace to lead LMU to victory. Continuing her stellar play, LMU's lone senior Crouse also managed five kills on nine swings. LMU once again posted two blocks and a pair of service aces, but eight LMU attack errors kept the second set close before the Lions eventually edged the Patriots with a 25-21 decision.
George Mason turned in its best hitting percentage of the day in the third at .267, but despite outhitting the Lions (.258), the Patriots could not escape the sweep. Keil and Luft truly took command of the LMU offense in the final period, posting nine and six kills, respectively. Keil connected for the nine kills on just 13 errorless swings, while Luft contributed her final two aces to help LMU to the sweep. The two teams played to nine tie scores, including even at every point from 24 to 29. LMU actually held match-point at 24-21, but the Patriots refused to surrender, scoring three unanswered to make things interesting down the stretch. Trailing 29-28, LMU fed Keil for the equalizer before benefitting from a Laura Spencer attack error to push the tally to 30-29 in favor of the Lions. Going with the hot hand, LMU once again set Keil, who promptly hammered the kill to the floor to hand the Lions the sweep.
LMU will return to action next weekend when it travels to the Notre Dame Invitational in Notre Dame, Ind.
ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM- GO LIONS -
Kathleen Luft, LMU
Bernetta Moore, GMU
Kathryn Caine, VT
Chelsea Davis, HPU
MVP: Annemarie Chin, HPU