#17 Loyola Marymount 3, #16 San Diego 1
No. 17 Loyola Marymount (21-3, 6-1 WCC) defeated a top-20 conference opponent for the second straight night to remain undefeated in Gersten Pavilion at 12-0. Tonight's victim was No. 16 San Diego (15-6, 4-3 WCC), as the Lions won 3-1 (30-18, 30-16, 33-35, 30-26).
LMU started the match hitting .323 as a team in game one. Dina DeBernardi notched five kills, while senior Tiana Newsome hit .667 and added two blocks. LMU out-blocked the Toreros 3.0 to 1.0 in the 30-18 victory.
Senior Kealani Kimball paced the Lions in game two, posting five kills, an ace, and a solo block. Kelli Nerison added three blocks, as LMU increased its blocking lead to 9.0 to 2.0. The Lions sealed their quick second game victory at 30-16, hitting a match-high .478 as a team.
Despite Newsome's four kills in game three, the contest was rough on the Lions, as they were out-hit by San Diego .153 to .019. The teams traded advantages at the end until the Toreros were able to win two consecutive points to win the long 33-35 battle.
San Diego got the early jump in game four, leading by seven at 3-10. The Lions fought back and tied the score at 22-22 on a kill by Nerison. LMU went on a 4-0 run consisting of a Newsome/Kimball block, two DeBernardi kills, and a Kimball ace to earn match point for the Lions. DeBernardi sealed the game four victory at 30-26 with her 12th kill of the evening.
Kimball led the Lions with 14 kills and 12 digs, her tenth double-double of the season. DeBernardi added 12 kills and three blocks.
San Francisco 3, Saint Mary's 1
USF remained undefeated at home, seizing a crucial 3-1 (30-25, 30-21, 25-30, 30-20) West Coast Conference victory against Bay Area rival Saint Mary's behind an outstanding record-setting night from senior middle blocker Teresa Russell Saturday at War Memorial Gym. Russell's fifth block of the contest gave her the all-time blocks record and her match-high 19 kills powered USF (19-4, 3-4 WCC) to their fifth consecutive home victory at the expense of the Gaels (15-9, 2-5 WCC).
USF stormed out of the gate strong and rolled to easy wins in games one and two and the Dons offense was clicking on all cylinders, hitting at a .439 clip with just two errors in the second set. Down 2-0, Saint Mary's rallied to take the third game, but USF roared back in game four behind eight kills from freshman outside hitter Theresa Hart, lifting the Dons to the victory.
Russell led four USF players with double-double performances with 19 kills on .405 hitting to go along with 11 digs and seven blocks (one solo), while Hart finished with a career-high 19 kills on a .405 attack percentage with 12 kills and three blocks (two solo). Senior outside hitter Brittanie Budinger recorded 15 kills and a match-high 19 digs, while senior outside hitter Caroline Skacel added 11 kills and 14 digs.
Senior setter April Scoggin dished out 62 assists and added four digs and four blocks for the Dons. Liz MacAusland chipped in with nine kills and added 10 digs and three blocks.
For the match, San Francisco hit at a .284 clip, including a .333 percentage in game four, while the Gaels hit at a .165 pace. USF and the Gaels each collected 12.5 blocks on the night, but the Dons held a 73-56 kills advantage.
Portland 3, Gonzaga 2
In a match where both Gonzaga and Portland were looking for their first league wins, the Pilots came out on top with a 3-2 (29-31, 31-29, 25-30, 30-28, 15-12) victory. Portland goes to 11-11 (1-6 WCC) on the year, while the Zags dropped to 3-20 (0-7 WCC) on the season.
More to come on this story later.