Lions Sweep Pepperdine for Wells Fargo PCH Cup Point
LMU volleyball swept Pepperdine to claim a PCH Cup point.
The LMU women's volleyball team (20-5, 8-5 WCC) recorded a sweep over Pepperdine (9-16, 4-9 WCC) by scores of 25-20, 25-18, 25-23 on Saturday in Gersten Pavilion to record a point in the Wells Fargo PCH Cup standings. LMU now leads 6-1 on the annual scorecard between the two teams. The victory also pushed LMU to the 20-win plateau for the first time since 2003 (26-7).
Senior Litara Keil recorded a match-high 11 kills with four block assists, pushing her atop the LMU record books for block assists with 352. She surpassed Tiana Newsome (2000-03) who previously held the record of 349.
Junior Amber Mirabello had a career match in terms of the attack, registering 10 kills on 16 errorless attacks for a personal-best .625 hitting percentage. LMU hit .274 over the course of the match while receiving sets from junior Hannah Tedrow (38 assists). Avery Bush and Kristen Castellanos led the way from the service area, registering two aces apiece to guide LMU to five as a team.
Katie Messing paced Pepperdine on the attack, finishing with a team-best 10 kills, including six in the first set. Samantha Cash also had a strong match, teaming seven kills with five block assists, but Pepperdine hit just .207 as a squad while serving up eight service errors.
After playing even to five points, LMU went on an impressive run to open up a healthy first-set lead. The Lions won four straight points from 5-5, and earned eight of the next 10 overall, including three on kills from DeWitt, to force a Pepperdine timeout at 13-7. That lead stretched to 10 points at 18-8 by way of another five-point run for the Lions, which was highlighted by two kills from Keil and an ace from Bush. Still holding a nine-point advantage at 20-11, LMU saw Pepperdine crawl back to within five at 20-15 behind the serves of Cash. Cash served three straight points, including notching a service ace, as the Waves forced an LMU timeout. Though the visitors continued to chip away at the deficit out of the break, cutting the lead to three at 22-19 on a Chanel Brown kill, LMU managed to reach set point at 24-19 on one of two Castellanos service aces in the stanza. Pepperdine wasted the first set-point opportunity for the Lions, but LMU eventually took the first on Sarah Sponcil's third kill on her fourth swing. DeWitt, who provided much of the punch early in the frame, finished the opener with five kills on seven attacks as LMU hit .360 as a team.
The Lions got off to a blistering start in the second set, jumping out to a 15-8 lead and forcing Pepperdine to spend both of its timeouts. Mirabello collected five kills on nine attacks in the second to guide the way for the Lions. After failing to record a block in the first, LMU's blocking corps came to play in the second, registering four total team blocks behind three block assists from Keil to limit Pepperdine to just .100 hitting. Despite the low hitting percentage, Pepperdine once again refused to let the set get completely out of hand, cutting the deficit to five points at 22-17 on a Messing kill that forced a Lion timeout. Fortunately for LMU, the Lions regrouped out of the huddle and took the second by a score of 25-18 on Mirabello's final kill of the period.
LMU had to play comeback late en route to the sweep in the third, erasing a 23-20 deficit by way of five straight points to take the match. LMU and Pepperdine played even to 17 points, but an Allie Loitz service ace and a Lion attack error pushed LMU into a 19-17 hole. LMU elected to call a timeout at 22-19 following kills from Jillian Bergeson and Cash, as it looked like the two teams were headed for a fourth set. DeWitt helped guide LMU off the mat in the third, registering one of her three kills in the period to spark the five-point run to victory. A block from Rachelle Suaava and Mirabello on the next play made it 23-22 and forced the first Wave timeout. The break did little to slow LMU's momentum as Emma Fuzie erred on an attack to even the tally at 23. DeWitt once again connected on a kill to push LMU to match-point at 24-23, forcing Pepperdine to call its final timeout. With LMU now serving for the match, the Lions elected to set the hot hand, feeding Mirabello for the final time as LMU earned the sweep.
LMU will return to action on Thursday when it travels to Santa Clara at 6 p.m.
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