Lion Comeback Falls Short in Fifth at BYU
LMU won the third and fourth sets in a five-set loss to BYU on Thursday night.
Nov. 3, 2011
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The LMU volleyball team (13-12, 6-6 WCC) managed to force a fifth set at BYU (19-7, 8-4 WCC) by winning the third and fourth sets, but could not complete the comeback, falling by scores of 25-18, 25-23, 23-25, 14-25, 15-8 at BYU's Smith Fieldhouse. The Lions are now 4-2 in five-set matches this year, with both losses coming at the hands of the Cougars.
BYU, which entered the match as the ninth-best blocking team in the nation, posted 15 team blocks in the win. The Lions also showed well on the block, notching 13 team blocks, guided by nine block assists from freshman Litara Keil. The nine block assists are tied for 10th-most in LMU program history, as Keil becomes the 10th player to manage nine, and the first since Kenna Crouse had nine against Cal State Northridge on September 15, 2009. Keil also contributed nine kills.
Jasmine Rankins led all players on the attack, notching 15 kills with 10 digs for a double-double. Junior Olivia Bailey also collected a double-double, teaming 47 assists with 12 digs. Sophomore Betsi Metter once again led all players in digs with 23, grouping that effort with two service aces and five assists. Bailey and Keil contributed two aces in the loss, as Bailey managed a career-high tying five blocks assists on defense.
A trio of Cougars reached double-digits in kills, led by 14 from Jennifer Hamson. Hamson and setter Heather Hannemann each had double-doubles, as Hamson teamed the kills with 10 digs and two aces. Hannemann joined 48 assists with 17 digs as BYU outhit LMU, .181-.146. Just as LMU received nine block assists from Keil, BYU received nine from Nicole Warner.
LMU was slow to get out of the gates in the first, hitting just .147 en route to a 25-18 setback. Bailey recorded three block assists, but LMU trailed virtually the entire way after falling behind at 5-4 on a Katie Vaughn kill. The lead stretched to 11-6 as LMU elected to take a timeout. After running the tally to 12-8, LMU committed three straight errors before calling a timeout at 15-8. With the score at 20-12, LMU managed to go on a short run, cutting the deficit to five at 20-15 to force a BYU timeout. The break served its purpose as the Cougars eventually took the set on a Metter service error.
Although LMU only led at 1-0 in the second, the two teams did play to 12 tie scores in what proved to be the tightest set of the match. Unfortunately for LMU, it was BYU that escaped with a crucial 25-23 victory to extend the match lead to 2-0. Hamson and Vaughn each had three kills for the Cougars, while Hensley exploded for four on eight swings for the Lions. The two teams traded blows virtually the entire way, finding themselves knotted at 19-19 on a Rankins kill. After BYU went on a 4-0 run from that point, it looked like BYU was going to finally run away from the pursuing Lions. Instead, LMU went on a 4-0 run of its own, highlighted by a Keil ace, to once again scratch to even at 23-23. Sensing the set slipping away, BYU dug its heels in and managed to win the next two points to take the set.
Needing a victory to avoid a sweep, LMU came out swinging in the third, hitting for a .312 clip, including five kills apiece from Keil and Rankins. BYU actually out-hit the Lions at .379, but it was LMU's three service aces and three team blocks that resulted in a 25-23 Lion victory. The Lions dropped the first point, but never trailed from that point forward after jumping-out to an early 8-3 lead on a Rankins ace. BYU managed to keep the set close from there en route to going on a run down the stretch. Trailing 20-16, the Cougars won four straight points to even the tally at 20-20. After trading blows to 22, LMU won back-to-back points to force set point at 24-22. A Warner kill cut the deficit to one, but Keil responded for LMU with her final kill of the period to hand LMU the win.
Set four belonged to the Lions from the beginning as they raced to an early 10-1 lead to force a BYU timeout. The Lions hit just .161, but held BYU to a -.167 clip en route to taking the period by a count of 25-14. Rankins led all players in the set with four kills. LMU reached the 20-point plateau on a Hensley kill before winning the runaway set on a kill from Crouse.
Locked in its sixth five-set match of the year, LMU never did take a lead en route to dropping the period and match by a score of 15-8. Neither team hit for a high percentage, but it was BYU who was able to keep the percentage in positive territory at .154 compared to LMU at -.111. No Lion player had multiple kills as BYU won the first five points of the set. That lead remained at five to 8-3 as LMU called its final timeout of the match. The Lions stayed within striking distance at 11-7, but BYU won the next three points to take match point at 14-7. The Lions erased the first match point chance, but Warner found the floor on the ensuing play to hand BYU the victory.
LMU returns to action on Saturday when it returns home to host Santa Clara at 1 p.m.