Lions Drop Another Thrilling Five-Setter to BYU
LMU has now played five five-set matches in seven all-time matches against BYU.
Oct. 5, 2013
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -
As would be expected from a pair of teams that had battled to four five-set matches in six all-time meetings, the seventh match between LMU (8-7, 3-3 WCC) and BYU (12-3, 5-0 WCC) went five sets. The Lions, who have never defeated the Cougars, once again lost a heartbreaker to BYU, this time falling by scores of 23-25, 25-22, 26-24, 15-25, 15-11 in Gersten Pavilion on Saturday afternoon.
Sophomore Rachelle Suaava had a career day on Saturday, managing a career-best 15 kills on a career-high 28 swings with just four errors for a .393 clip. Suaava also added four block assists, helping to push LMU to eight total team blocks. Senior Kathleen Luft, who was celebrating her birthday, contributed a match-high 22 kills, while Litara Keil and Amber Mirabello pitched-in 13 and eight, respectively. Mirabello guided the LMU block, collecting a career-high tying five block assists. Senior Betsi Metter, who collected two aces to move within three of sole possession of the LMU career record, once again led all players with 20 digs. Felicia Arriola managed a double-double for the Lions by teaming 11 kills with 13 digs.
Tambre Haddock paced the Cougar attack with 16 kills, followed by a trio of players with 10. Hannah Robison collected a double-double, teaming 10 kills with 14 digs and five block assists. BYU as a team collected 13 blocks, highlighted by nine block assists from Whitney Young. While LMU did serve up nine aces, including three from setter Hannah Tedrow, LMU also committed 14 service errors to only four from BYU.
As it had done in 11 of its first 13 matches, LMU claimed the opening set, this time getting five kills on nine swings from Luft. The native of Thousand Oaks, Calif. hit .444 in the first to push LMU to a .237 hitting percentage. Tedrow and Metter each contributed an ace, while LMU held BYU to just a .182 hitting percentage on the other side of the net. BYU's blocking game came to play in the first, totaling four blocks, including three block assists from Young, but the Lions managed to claim the crucial first set. The two teams traded runs, as the Lions opened up an early 10-4 lead only to have BYU battle back to even at 13. The seesaw battled continued to 23-23, but BYU committed a serving error followed by an attacking error to hand LMU the first set.
BYU evened the match score at one set apiece by way of a 25-22 victory in the second. The Lions managed to out-hit the Cougars by a count of .263 to .233, but three more BYU blocks proved enough to push the visitors past LMU. Luft contributed five more kills on 10 attacks for the Lions, while Metter added her second ace of the match, but BYU managed to open up a healthy six-point lead at 15-9 and exhaust both LMU timeouts early. The Cougars were forced to call a timeout late at 24-21, but after LMU managed to cut the deficit to two out of the break on a Suaava kill, Alexa Gray found the floor for her third kill of the period to claim victory.
LMU had set point in a tight third period, but was unable to close out the Cougars, as BYU eventually climbed out of a 24-22 hole to earn the 25-24 victory and steal a 2-1 match score lead. The Lion block posted four team stuffs, including three block assists from Suaava and Mirabello. The Lions and Cougars each hit for high clips offensively, with BYU posting a .312 percentage compared to LMU's .303. For the third straight set, Luft contributed five kills and added an ace, but her kill total was matched by Haddock on the other side of the net. Kathryn LeCheminant added four more for BYU, including one to push BYU within one point at 24-23. The Cougars finished the set on a 4-0 run, eventually taking the set on an attack error off the top of the net and out of bounds off the hand of Luft.
Suaava guided the Lions to a lopsided 25-15 fourth-set victory to force a decisive fifth set. The native of Long Beach, Calif. posted a set-best six kills on nine swings to help LMU to a .400 hitting percentage. The Lions also came out strong from the service area, posting four aces, including a pair from Keil. LMU and BYU traded early blows, but LMU posted six unanswered points from 2-3 to 8-3 before running away with the period, fittingly won on a Suaava kill.
LMU fell behind early in the fifth set, trailing 5-2, before eventually working all the way back to even at eight. Although BYU took the lead from there, LMU stayed within a point to 11-10 before the Cougars rattled-off three unanswered to push the match to match point at 14-10. Luft broke the serve with a kill on the ensuing play, but Robison and LeCheminant combined to stuff the outside hitter on the next attack, handing BYU the thrilling five-set victory. Haddock finished the match strong for BYU, posting six of her 16 kills in the finale.
LMU will return to action on Thursday when it travels to Saint Mary's for a match at 7 p.m.
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