Sept. 24, 2011
PORTLAND, Ore. -
The LMU volleyball team (8-6, 2-0) defeated Portland (6-9, 0-2) on the road in five sets on Saturday in the first match to go five sets this year. The Lions, who hit .246 over the course of the match, earned the victory by scores of 23-25, 25-21, 16-25, 25-22, 15-12 in 2:14. With the win, LMU swept a pair of matches to conclude an 11-match road trip.
Jasmine Rankins led the Lions with 17 kills on 45 attacks for a .378 hitting percentage, while freshman Caitlin DeWitt reached double-digit kills with 10 on 23 attacks for a .304 percentage. Junior Olivia Bailey set the offense to the .246 mark, dishing-out 40 assists to go along with nine digs. Betsi Metter continued to excel as LMU's libero, collecting 23 digs. The LMU blocking effort did not go unnoticed on Saturday, as the Lions posted 11 team blocks, including seven of LMU's 20 block assists from freshman Litara Keil.
Portland hit .161 over the course of the match, led by Ariel Usher with 21 kills on 54 attacks. Kati Hronek and Rachel Femling each pitched-in double-digit kills with 13 and 12, respectively. Usher teamed her 21 kills with 16 digs for a double-double, while setter Monica Jordan teamed 38 assists with 13 digs for a double-double of her own. While it was LMU that entered the weekend as the WCC's top serving team in terms of aces, it was Portland that served-up 11 aces to LMU's four. Kate Bostwick paced the Pilots in that category, notching four.
Usher led Portland to a narrow 25-23 victory in the first set, collecting four kills on six swings as the Pilots hit .212 as a team. Jordan posted a pair of service aces in the period, while also notching three kills on four attacks. The Lions received three kills from Rankins, and two apiece from four other players, but after playing tied to 23 in the first set, Jordan softly placed her attack in front of the back line judge to give the Pilots the set-point lead. With Jordan serving, Portland captured the first set after Alyse Hensley's attack bounced off the antenna for an error.
LMU rebounded nicely in the second set, recording a 25-21 victory highlighted by five kills from Rankins and four more from Kenna Crouse
and DeWitt. The Lions hit a blistering .486 in the period while holding Portland to a .182 clip. Despite the lopsided hitting percentage advantage for LMU, it was Portland who led virtually the entire set. After forcing a Lion timeout at 13-7, Portland began to see its lead start to fade to just one point at 16-15. The Lions finally scratched back to even at 19 on a DeWitt kill before the two teams traded blows to 21-21. The Lions finished strong from there, winning the final four points to even the match score at one set apiece.
Portland dominated the third set as Femling posted five kills and had a hand in two of UP's five team blocks. Bea Loper, who came in to start the third set, set the tone for the defense with three blocks in the set to hold LMU to a .000 hitting percentage.
Needing a victory in the fourth set to force a fifth and deciding period, LMU rode the hot hand of DeWitt in the fourth en route to a 25-22 victory. The freshman notched five kills on nine swings to guide LMU to a .289 hitting percentage. Crouse did work on the block, posting a block solo and two block assists to limit Portland to a .135 clip. Just as they did in the second set, the two teams played even down the stretch, finding themselves knotted at 22 on back-to-back kills from Hronek. With the set up for grabs, Portland crumbled over the final three points of the fourth, committing three straight attacking errors to hand LMU the set and force a fifth period.
Competing in the fifth set for the first time this year, LMU hit .250 and held Portland to a .034 clip en route to earning the victory. Rankins had three kills while the Lions combined for four team blocks to improve to 2-0 in the WCC this year. After playing even to eight points, LMU went on a 4-0 run to claim a 12-8 advantage late in the final period. Portland cut the deficit to one at 12-11 with three straight points of its own, highlighted by two kills from Usher. A timely timeout by the Lions ended the Pilot rally and served its purpose, as the Lions emerged from the huddle and won three of the next four points, all on Portland errors, to claim the victory.
Having just completed an 11-match road trip, LMU will return home to host BYU on September 29 at 7 p.m. That match will be LMU volleyball's centennial match. The game will feature special promotions, giveaways and honor the history of LMU athletics and LMU women's volleyball. For more information, visit http://www.LMULions.com/LMUat100
- GO LIONS -