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Lions Drop Opener at USC Trojan Invite

Aug. 24, 2007

Box Score

LOS ANGELES - The Lions' 2007 season opener took them only across town, but it paired them against a defending conference champion from across the nation. Loyola Marymount volleyball (0-1) fell 3-0 (30-23, 30-19, 30-23) to 2006 Big East Champion St. John's (1-0) in the first match of the Trojan Invitational, held at USC's Galen Center.

Good fortune rode with the Red Storm all night, as the Lions were without the services of returning starting setter Ashley Dutro after she was injured during pre-match warm-ups.

Then trailing 10-9 in game one, the Lions saw the Red Storm go on an 8-2 run that made it 18-11. Three-time All-West Coast Conference honoree Heather Hughes had eight kills in the first frame, as she tried to keep the Lions close. But St. John's hit .340 as a team and held on to win 30-23.

The Red Storm out-blocked the Lions seven to one in game two to take the second frame 30-19.

The offensive woes continued in game three for the Lions, who saw their team hitting percentage drop to below zero for a second straight game. St. John's sealed the 3-0 victory with a 30-23 win in game three.

Despite the opening-night loss, the Lions posted better serving numbers than the Red Storm, with Emily Day leading all players with two service aces in the three games.

The LMU rookies also got off to an impressive start, with freshman setter Renee Horton posting the match's only statistical double-double with 28 assists and 13 digs. Fellow freshman Whitney Leonard added 15 digs.

Hughes finished with 14 kills.

As with all three opponents in this weekend's tournament, St. John's is among the nation's top teams in the AVCA Preseason Poll. Just outside the top-25, the Red Storm earned 24 votes in the poll.

Tonight's match was the first-ever meeting between the two volleyball programs.

The Lions continue play at the Trojan Invitational on Saturday, with a 10:00 a.m. match-up against Michigan State. LMU will then battle the sixth-ranked Trojans at 7:00 p.m. All matches will be carried live on Gametracker and the Lions' Audio Network.

-GO LIONS-