Lions Outlast Saint Mary's in Thrilling Five-Set Match
LMU trailed 10-6 in the final set before coming back to win the match.
Oct. 22, 2011
MORAGA, Calif. - The LMU volleyball team (11-11, 4-5) got the second-half of WCC play off to a good start, defeating Saint Mary's (10-12, 4-6) on the road on Saturday afternoon in five sets by scores of 20-25, 25-21, 26-24, 16-25, 19-17. LMU trailed 10-6 in the final set before digging its heels in and fighting back to take the period and the match in five. With the victory, LMU swept the season series between the two teams this year.
The Lions received 19 kills from senior Jasmine Rankins, while freshman Litara Keil and senior Emily Cheek each pitched-in 13. Junior Olivia Bailey had a stellar match for the Lions, dishing-out 57 assists to accompany 15 digs for a double-double. Running the offense over the course of the match, Bailey set the Lions to a .223 hitting percentage. Nearly as important as her 13 kills, Cheek contributed a career-high three block solos to pace LMU to six block solos and 10 total team blocks on Saturday. Senior Diana Hiromoto also played a pivotal role in the victory, securing 10 digs and serving-up three of LMU's five aces.
Jordan Shaw, one of three Gael players with a double-double, paced all players in kills for Saint Mary's, collecting 20 on 49 attacks for a .286 hitting percentage. The Gaels, who hit .257 over the course of the match, also received 15 kills, six block solos and six block assists from Gabby Jolly. Saint Mary's finished the match with eight block solos, 21 block assists and 18.5 total team blocks. Missy White, SMC's setter, dished-out 50 assists to go along with 15 digs for a double-double.
Saint Mary's came out hot in the first set, connecting at a .452 clip en route to earning a victory in the opener. Jolly and Shaw each had four kills, as Jolly needed just five swings to amass the four. Wasting no time on the block, Jolly also contributed a pair of her six block solos in the first. Keil led the Lion attack in the first, connecting for five kills on nine swings to help LMU to a .273 hitting percentage. The Gaels raced out to an early 5-1 lead following a pair of kills by Shaw in the first set. From there, SMC kept up the pressure, leading by as many as five at 18-13. Samantha Tinsley's third kill of the frame gave the Gaels the first set, 25-20.
LMU managed to even the match score at one set apiece with a 25-21 decision in the second. After posting three kills in the first, Rankins contributed five on 11 attacks in the second to lead LMU to the win. Cheek followed-up her four-kill first set with four more in the second as LMU hit .317 to SMC's .300. Hiromoto proved essential in the second, serving-up two of her three aces in the period. Saint Mary's started the second hot once again, claiming an early 6-2 lead. However, the Lions rallied back to tie the set up at 8-8 before taking the lead on a service ace from Hiromoto. The Lions led by as many as six at 22-16 before SMC stormed back into the set by way of a 5-1 run that left the tally at 23-21. LMU elected to take a timeout, and it proved effective, as Rankins connected on back-to-back kills to hand LMU the set.
LMU never trailed in the third set, but the decision was far from lopsided as LMU took a 2-1 lead in the match score by way of a 26-24 win. Both offenses cooled after the intermission, as LMU hit .235 compared to Saint Mary's at .158. Rankins contributed four kills on 11 attacks to accompany a service ace, while Alyse Hensley managed a block solo and two block assists to guide LMU to five total team blocks. The Lions took an early 4-1 lead in the third and later pushed it 11-7. However, the Lions continued to have trouble keeping their serves in play, and the Gaels cut the lead to two at 11-9. The Lions finished the match with 16 service errors. LMU followed the SMC run with a run on its own, pushing the lead to 16-10 on a block by Cheek. Refusing to surrender, the Gaels stormed back yet again, as White's fourth kill of the match tied the set up at 23-23 forcing LMU to use a timeout. The two teams traded blows out of the break, but LMU eventually took the set 26-24 on a kill by Cheek.
Needing a win to force a fifth set, Saint Mary's came out swinging in the fourth, connecting at a .409 clip en route to a 25-16 victory. The Gaels never trailed in the fourth, as Jolly and Shaw both collected three kills on four attacks, while Jolly also contributed a pair of block solos. The Lions hit just .107 in the period, led by three kills from Rankins.
Neither team hit for a high percentage in the race to 15 in the fifth and decisive set, but it was LMU's .133 mark that proved just enough to defeat Saint Mary's on Saturday by a score of 19-17. The Lions turned to their go-to players in the finale, as Rankins and Hensley each had four kills and accounted for eight of LMU's 10 kills in the set. The Lion defense made up for the low hitting percentage in the final set, as LMU posted 17 digs and two blocks. Shaw posted a .300 hitting percentage with four kills, and Saint Mary's accumulated five total team blocks in the fifth, but LMU erased a 10-6 deficit to escape McKeon Pavilion with the victory. After playing even to 12, the two teams battled to five more tie scores down the stretch before LMU eventually took the match on a pair of attack errors from Lauren Corp.
The Lions return home next week when they host Portland and Gonzaga. Thursday's match against the Pilots begins at 7 p.m.