Playing with PCH Cup points on the line, LMU volleyball (16-12, 9-8 WCC) exacted revenge on Pepperdine (16-14, 8-9 WCC), defeating the Waves on the road on Saturday, 14-25, 25-15, 25-20, 25-14, to earn 1.5 PCH Cup points and split the season series between the two teams.
Sophomore Savannah Slattery led the way for LMU, hitting .341 and posting a double-double of 19 kills and 14 digs as the Lions hit .278 as a squad. Sophomore Megan Rice chipped in 14 kills while hitting .303 as Jessie Prichard (27 assists) and Tess Reid (21 assists) did well in running the offense. The best serving team in the WCC, LMU served up nine more aces in the victory, including another five from freshman Meredith Teague. Teague has now accumulated 40 aces this year, with 34 coming in the last nine matches. She has posted four or more aces in six of the last eight overall, including five in back-to-back contests on 11/2 and 11/4, five more at Santa Clara on 11/11, and five in Saturday's triumph.
After a slow start that saw LMU hit .000 while allowing a .481 clip on the other side of the net in the first set, LMU got things rolling in the right direction, hitting .333, serving up two aces and posting three blocks in the second. Slattery came alive for seven of her match-best 19 in the second, and Teague combined on a pair of blocks.
Slattery continued the hot play in the third, connecting for seven kills on 11 attacks with just one error as the Lions hit a blistering .471. The Waves managed to hit .393 in that third set, but LMU never trailed en route to the victory.
While the strong attack proved to be the difference in the second and third sets, LMU's serving ensured that the Lions left Malibu with the victory after four. LMU hit just .258, but served up five of the nine match aces in the final period. Teague posted three of her five, and Rice had two of her three in the fourth. LMU also managed 17 digs and a pair of blocks in the finale.
"We are really proud of our team's ability to reset their focus after game one," head coach Aaron Mansfield said. "We didn't need to lose the match to learn a lesson, we were able to be aware and learn during the match which is invaluable. Our pin hitters took the best swings from start to finish that they have taken all year. Our setters decision making was key in opening up our offense as well and our passing kept us in it all match long. We are excited to start preparing for BYU."
LMU will complete the 2017 season on Tuesday, traveling to BYU to face the ninth-ranked Cougars. LMU has a chance to play spoiler on Tuesday, as a BYU win would guarantee at least a share of the WCC Championship for the Cougars, who find themselves tied with San Diego for first play in the WCC at 16-1.
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