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Dec 6- After sweeping their NCAA first round match-up with Cal State Northridge on Friday, the Lions (6-7) fell to No

lt;bgt;Pictured:lt;/bgt;lt;igt; Dina DeBernardi had nine kills for the Lionslt;/igt; lt;pgt; Dec 6- After sweeping their NCAA first round match-up with Cal State Northridge on Friday, the Lions (6-7) fell to No. 1 USC (31-0) in three games (30-16, 30-, 30-16) this evening. Co-captain Dina DeBernardi tallied nine kills and hit .348 for LMU, but it was not enough to stop the defending national champions. lt;pgt; Freshman Sandy Krone opened the match for the Lions, scoring LMU's first point on a kill. Co-captain Dina DeBernardi made it two in a row with a kill of her own, tying game one at two. USC rallied to a 4-10 lead, but the Lions gained momentum on the play of Kelli Nerison, who had a hand in the Lions' first block of the night just before earning her first kill to bring the score to -11. Game one saw several lengthy rallies, but USC took the point in the majority of them. Nerison posted one more kill before the Lions fell 30-16. lt;pgt; Senior Tiana Newsome started the Lions off in game two, getting an early kill to keep the Lions within one at 3-. LMU took two consecutive points on one of their . blocks and an ace by DeBernardi. Kills by setter Nicole Oehlman and Newsome brought LMU back within two at 11-9. Senior Kealani Kimball stepped up for the Lions in the second half of game two, posting two blocks and a kill to hold the Trojans at game point for two rallies. The third time was the charm for USC, and they took they second game 30-. lt;pgt; Kimball led the Lions out of the break between games two and three, as LMU took the first point on a solo block by the outside hitter. DeBernardi added two quick kills to keep the Lions within two at 6-4. Kimball, Oehlman, and Krone each posted kills of their own, as LMU attempted to become just the fifth team to win a game off the undefeated Trojans. USC's .48 third game hitting percentage was too much for the Lions, and the Trojans took game three 30-16. lt;pgt; "I am very proud of our team," Head Coach Steve Stratos said. "They are a great group of girls who work very hard. I've been a coach for 14 years, and this USC squad is the best volleyball team I have ever seen." lt;pgt; With the loss, LMU completes its season 6-7, equaling the program's best win mark under Stratos. Stratos' 1996 squad also posted 6 victories before falling in the NCAA Pacific Regional Semifinal to Washington State. lt;pgt; USC will move on to the Lincoln, Nebraska, regional to face Texas Aamp;M on Friday. lt;Pgt;