On a day that LMU celebrated seniors Kristen Castellanos and Lindsay Carr, both players contributed in a big way to LMU’s five-set 25-21, 26-24, 22-25, 18-25, 15-13 victory over Portland on Saturday afternoon in Gersten Pavilion.
Castellanos, who will finish her LMU career ranked second in LMU history for digs, led all players with 21 in the match. Carr connected for six kills on nine swings with five block assists.
— LMULions (@LMULions) November 4, 2017
The Lions utilized a balanced attack in the victory, as Savannah Slattery and Megan Rice led the way with 15 kills apiece. Sara Kovac pitched in 14 of her own as the Lions hit .242 while receiving sets from Jessie Prichard (28 assists) and Tess Reid (26 assists). Both Slattery and Prichard finished the match with double-doubles, as Prichard teamed the 28 assists with 10 digs, and Slattery paired her 15 kills with 17 digs.
Despite failing to record an ace in the first set, the two teams combined for 19 service aces in the match. LMU served up 11 aces, including five from freshman Meredith Teague. Teague now owns 27 aces this year, with 21 coming in the last six matches. She has posted four or more aces in four of the last five overall, including five in back-to-back contests.
Portland’s Hannah Troutman led all players with 32 kills on 63 attacks for a .429 hitting percentage. She also had 17 digs to finish with a double-double.
LMU posted a .361 hitting percentage in the first set, including a perfect 3-for-3 on the attack from Carr. Rice led the way with six kills, five digs and a block assist as LMU took the opener, 25-21. The Lions trailed 7-5 early in the first, but LMU rattled off four straight points, including one on a block from Rice and Carr, to open up a 9-7 lead it would not relinquish. Portland, which received seven kills from Troutman, continued to play the set close, trailing by just one point at 16-15, but LMU went on another four-point run to extend the lead to 20-15 following a kill from Carr. Kovac connected for one of her four first-set kills to push LMU to set point at 24-20, and she put away the final tally two plays later to hand LMU the victory.
The Lions won a tight second set, 26-24, after playing to 16 tie scores and four lead changes. Both teams hit .378 in the second, with LMU benefitting from five Slattery kills and four more from freshman Sierra Bartley. Troutman continued her stellar play in the period, registering eight kills to close the first two sets with 15. LMU earned its first set-point chance of the second at 24-22, but Reghan Pukis, who had five kills in the period and 18 in the match, notched a kill in front of a Cali Thompson service ace that tied the set. Slattery then responded for LMU, setting the table for Rice’s set-winning kill.
The Pilots managed to force a fourth set by way of a 25-22 victory. Portland again rode Troutman in the period, as she posted eight kills, four digs and a block assist. Kovac managed five kills for the Lions, and LMU served up three aces, but the Lion attack hit just .222 in the setback. Despite the set staying close virtually the entire way, Portland never trailed after opening up a 5-2 lead. A Rice attack error pushed the Pilots to a 10-7 lead, and one of Pukis’ three kills in the third advanced the tally to 15-12. The Lions clawed to within a point at 23-22 down the stretch, forcing Portland into a timeout, but Katie Barker connected for a kill before a bad set was charged to Reid to close the period.
Carrying momentum from the third, the Pilots came out strong in the fourth, connecting for a .444 hitting percentage and building a strong lead in the middle of the period en route to capturing the 25-18 victory. A 6-1 run turned a 6-5 lead into a 12-6 advantage, and another strong string pushed the Pilots to a 17-8 lead. An attack error from Reid pushed the tally to 20-10, and the visitors reached set point at 24-15 following a Rice service error. After a Slattery kill kept the Lions alive, Teague served up consecutive aces to force a Pilot timeout. The break took Teague out of her rhythm, and the resulting play ended in a service error to force a fifth and deciding stanza.
LMU had to play from behind in the race to 15, trailing 7-3 before storming back to eventually knot the tally at 11-11. A pair of Rice kills, a block from Carr and Bartley, and a Teague ace highlighted the run. Following a timeout charged to Portland, LMU continued to push forward, winning the next two points on another Teague ace and a second block from Carr and Bartley. The Lions moved to match point at 14-12 following a Portland attack error, and eventually put the match away when Morgan Robinson served long at 14-13.
LMU will play its final four matches on the road, beginning with a 7 p.m. Thursday tilt at San Francisco.
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