Lions Outlast Santa Clara in Five, Improve to 2-0 in WCC
LMU recorded a victory in its first five-set match of the year.
Sept. 21, 2013
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -
The LMU volleyball team (7-4, 2-0 WCC) was quick to take a lead in each of the five sets played on Saturday in Gersten Pavilion, eventually outlasting Santa Clara (6-5, 1-1 WCC) by scores of 25-23, 24-26, 22-25, 25-20, 15-6 in the first five-set match of the year for the Lions.
Senior Kathleen Luft led the way for the Lions, collecting a match and season-best 23 kills on 54 swings with only two errors for a .370 clip. Felicia Arriola and Litara Keil each pitched in 14 kills, with Keil hitting .385 and posting nine block assists to guide LMU to a season-best 14 total team blocks. The nine block assists matched a career-high for Keil, having reached that mark twice earlier in her career. Sophomore Hannah Tedrow and junior Ashley Maxfeldt once again shared the setting duties, dishing out 32 and 23 assists, respectively. Senior Betsi Metter collected four more aces to accompany a match-high 32 digs to complete another solid outing from the libero position.
A quartet of Broncos kept things interesting on the other side of the net as Nikki Hess, Haley Cameron and Sabrina Clayton all finished with 11 kills, one better than Megan Anders. Cameron was efficient in her attack, notching the 11 on just 23 swings with one error for a .435 hitting percentage. Alyssa Anderson led all players with 45 assists.
The Lions held on to take the first set by a count of 25-23 despite a late run from the Broncos. Even at 12, Metter dropped back to serve for LMU and held post for five points and handed LMU the 17-12 advantage, highlighted by a pair of aces from the Phoenix, Ariz. native. The Lions eventually claimed a six-point lead at 22-16 on one of Luft's set-high six kills, but Santa Clara would not surrender the set without a fight. Down to set point at 24-19, the Broncos rattled-off four straight points to cut the deficit to one at 24-23 and exhausting both of LMU's timeouts. LMU eventually managed to hang on to the set after the second timeout as Hess's ensuing attack sailed long and handed the Lions the crucial set-one victory.
LMU was unable to hold off the late comeback in the second set, jumping out to an early 12-8 lead on back-to-back kills from Litara Keil and extending the lead to 17-11, but Santa Clara went on a run with Taylor Milton at the service line. The San Diego, Calif. native served tough and forced subpar passing on the Lions' side of the net, eventually resulting in Santa Clara cutting the deficit to one point at 17-16. The Lions managed to break her serve on the ensuing play, but Santa Clara clawed all the way back to even at 18 on a Rachelle Suaava attack error. The two teams traded blows down the stretch, playing to 24-24, but Santa Clara received a kill from Milton and a block from Cameron and Hess to take the set. Luft once again had six kills, joined by four on just five swings from Keil, but it was not enough to keep the Broncos at bay.
The script continued in the third set as LMU once again opened up a 16-11 lead only to have it erased down the stretch by Santa Clara. Although the Broncos managed to cut the deficit to two at 17-15 on a Lion attack error, LMU still sat in the driver's seat late at 22-19. That is where the tides turned in favor of the visitors as Santa Clara closed the set on a 6-0 run to take the 2-1 match lead. The swing point seemed to come at 22-20 as Tedrow appeared to be setting a ball near the net that was ultimately blocked, but the call on the floor was a back-row attack and resulted in a point for the Broncos, cutting the deficit to 22-21. The Lions did not help their own cause down the stretch, committing five straight unforced errors (two setting errors and three attacking errors) to hand over the set.
LMU forced a decisive fifth set by way of a convincing 25-20 victory in the fourth. Luft and Arriola carried the Lions to victory, notching five kills apiece to push LMU to a .333 hitting percentage. The Lion block also came alive in the period, collecting five team blocks behind four block assists from Keil. The Lions came out strong in the fourth, earning a 15-8 lead and maintaining the advantage to 20-13 on a Luft kill. Santa Clara did manage to inch within four at 22-18, but LMU stayed strong and earned the victory on a block from Keil and Arriola.
Carrying momentum from the fourth set, LMU cruised to the 15-6 victory in the finale. The Lions hit .412 behind a balanced attack that saw a pair of kills from Keil, Luft and Arriola. Luft also contributed a pair of aces, including one to push LMU to match point at 14-4, before recording the final kill of the match in the race to 15.
LMU will hit the road for three straight matches, beginning with a match at Gonzaga on September 26 at 7 p.m.