For the fourth time in as many meetings, LMU volleyball (12-9, 5-5 WCC) played a five-set match against #8 BYU (21-1, 10-0 WCC), and for the third time in those four, the Cougars came out on top, capturing a 21-25, 22-25, 25-18, 25-12, 15-11 victory.
Saturday's match, played in Gersten Pavilion, was also the second straight match in which LMU took the first two sets of the match only to have BYU storm back to win in five. The previous instance closed out a 2016 season in which LMU went 0-6 in five-set matches. Since 2010, nine of LMU's 14 matches against BYU have gone five sets, and LMU is 1-8 in the nine. LMU has led either 2-0 or 2-1 in five of the eight setbacks.
LMU, which hit .520 in the first set, and .462 in the second, finished the match hitting .246. Sierra Bartley had 14 kills on 24 swings while hitting .417, while Megan Rice had 11 kills on 21 attacks to post a .381 hitting percentage. The Lions served the ball well on Saturday, notching 11 aces behind four from Meredith Teague and three more from Rice. Teague also accumulated seven kills on 12 errorless attacks (.583), and managed a block solo and four block assists to help guide LMU to 12 team blocks.
Veronica Jones-Perry had a career match in the victory for BYU, logging a career-best 34 kills on 59 attacks for a .441 hitting percentage. Jones-Perry served up three aces, recorded six digs, and managed four block assists to lead the way for BYU. The Cougars finished the match with 14 blocks, including a solo and nine block assists from Cosy Burnett. On the attack, Burnett managed seven kills while hitting .312.
Despite BYU hitting for .300+ clips in the first two sets, LMU came out victorious after stringing together a strong attack and a great serving game. The Lions served up six aces in the opener, including three from, Rice and posted four more in the second set. The aces stalled out in the third, and BYU ran away with the fourth set after hitting .550 and holding LMU to a -.040 clip behind five Cougar blocks.
Now knotted at two sets apiece, the two teams found themselves in a race to 15. BYU came out strong, winning the first four points, capped by a pair of Burnett kills. LMU would inch to within two points at 7-5, and would stay within two all the way to 11-9, but BYU won three straight from there, earning match-point at 14-9 following Jones-Perry's fourth kill of the set, and her final tally of the match. LMU did manage to win the next two points, but Haddock set Burnett on the ensuing play, and Burnett found the floor to seal the comeback victory.
LMU will look to get back on track next week when it travels to Pacific for a Thursday match at 7 p.m.
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