Lions Swept by No. 17 USD, 3-0
LMU battled throughout the match, but could not defeat the West Coast Conference Champions.
Nov. 20, 2008
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - LMU (13-14, 3-10) played No. 17 San Diego (21-4, 11-2) tight throughout, but lost in three sets at Gersten Pavilion on Thursday: 19-25, 22-25, 24-26.
The Lions had three players with double digit kills on the game. Senior Emily Day led the way with 18 kills, while sophomore Becky Stehling had 11 kills and .500 hitting percentage. Rounding out trifecta was freshman Ariana Covington with 10 kills.
On the other side, Amy DeGroot paced the Toreros with 15 kills on 48 attempts for a .229 hitting percentage. Torey Ellick was more efficient, reaching double figures with 11 kills on only 18 attempts for a .556 hitting percentage.
The first set was close at the beginning as neither team made a big run. Covington led the way for the Lions in the early going with three of the team's first ten points; she finished with four kills in the set. The Toreros, however began to pull away late in the set, stretching the lead to six points at 20-14 and then cruising from there to a comfortable 25-19 set win.
DeGroot led San Diego with four kills, while Ali Troost was their most efficient player with three kills in four attempts. Errors hurt the Lions throughout the set and proved to be the difference. As usual, though, Stehling was efficient for the Lions with a .500 hitting percentage on four kills in six attempts.
The Lions came out with a sense of urgency, exhorting each other on in the second set, knowing that they almost had to win it to give them a chance to down the Toreros. The urgency showed as LMU played better, raising their hitting percentage .120 from the first set. Day led by example, with seven kills on the set, including four of the team's first six points. Also, sophomore Renee Horton, the team's setter, had three kills in the set to go along with her 15 assists.
The score went back-and-forth early but San Diego took the lead at 9-8 and then never relinquished it. The Lions kept the set close the whole way, but after that couldn't get over-the-top and take the lead. Troost was once again very effective, with four kills on five attempts, but she had to leave the match with an injury with the Toreros leading 17-15. Ellick picked up the slack for San Diego with a perfect five kills on five attacks, including the kill to win the set.
The Toreros came out on fire, up 8-2, in the third set and it looked like they were poised to put the Lions away quickly. LMU, however, was not ready to go down easily. The Lions gave a glimpse into the team's future as their lineup in the set usually consisted of five underclassmen and one senior. At times they had as many as four freshmen on the floor. That young team showed a lot of guts battling back and eventually taking their first lead of the match at 21-20 on a kill by Day.
Day provided the leadership for the young team as she had eight kills, almost half of the team's 17 kills in the set. Her eighth kill of the set put LMU up 24-23 and had the Lions on the verge of pushing the Toreros to a fourth set. It was not to be, though, as San Diego tied the game and Ashton Basch had the last two kills to give the Toreros the match and West Coast Conference Championship.
The Lions' last West Coast Conference match of the season is on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Gersten Pavilion against San Francisco. Seniors Lindsay Banas, Emily Day, Erin Downey and Lauren Kirk will be honored before the game.