No. 17 LMU Hands No. 12 Santa Clara First WCC Loss
Four Lions post double-figure kills in conference battle.
Oct. 24, 2003
Los Angeles, Calif. - No. 17 Loyola Marymount (20-3, 5-1 WCC) handed No. 12 Santa Clara (14-7, 5-1 WCC) its first West Coast Conference loss of the season Friday evening in front of a packed house in Gersten Pavilion. The Lions won three straight games to remain undefeated at home, extending their Gersten Pavilion winning streak to 11-0. Four Lions posted double-figure kills in the five-game thriller (21-30, 28-30, 30-28, 30-24, 17-15).
Despite a strong start from junior Kelli Nerison, who posted two kills and three blocks in the first game, the Lions dropped game one 21-30.
Senior Tiana Newsome contributed eight kills in game two alone, as LMU improved to a .340 team hitting percentage to out-hit the Broncos. Santa Clara hung on for the 28-30 game two win.
The Lions took over in game three, starting things off on block by Newsome and Dina DeBernardi. Freshman Sandy Krone added a block of her own to give the Lions the 3-1 lead. Santa Clara went on a run, taking a seven point lead at 11-18. But LMU battled back, winning six consecutive points to take the 22-21 lead. Two kills and an ace by senior Kealani Kimball gave LMU a three point lead at 25-22. Kimball sealed the game three win at 30-28 with her 15th kill of the match.
LMU was even stronger in game four, hitting .410 as a team. The Lions trailed Santa Clara 3-4, but were never behind again, running away with the 30-23 victory. Nerison added five game four kills.
After battling back to win two straight must-win games, LMU refused to lose the deciding game five, pushing the Broncos to a 17-15 decision. The Lions out-hit Santa Clara in every game but the first, and out-blocked the Broncos 19.0 to 10.0.
Kimball ended the match with 22 kills, 18 digs, and four blocks. Newsome added 17 kills and nine blocks.
Newsome recorded her 300th career block assist and her 400th career total block in the victory. The senior already owns both blocking titles on LMU's all-time career leader rankings. Her two solo blocks also made her the second all-time LMU career leader in solo blocks. She needs four more solo blocks to add that blocking title to her resume.
The Lions will host No. 16 San Diego (15-5, 4-2 WCC) Saturday evening in Gersten Pavilion. Match time is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.