Sept. 7, 2007
LOS ANGELES - A balanced attack helped Loyola Marymount volleyball knock off its second undefeated opponent in as many matches, as the Lions topped Tulane 3-1 (30-17, 31-29, 30-21, 31-29) in opening night action at the LMU Hilton LAX Invitational. Tulane (7-1), like UC Irvine who the Lions (5-3) defeated earlier this week, had entered the match undefeated, equaling the Green Wave's best start ever at 7-0.
Tulane entered the weekend tournament earning votes in the CSTV/AVCA National Top-25 poll, but the Lions proved too much for the Green Wave. LMU received a boost from three statistical double-doubles and four players in double-digit kills, including Emily Day (16), Christianna Reneau (15), Jania Motton (12), and reigning National Player of the Week Heather Hughes (20).
Freshman setter Renee Horton tallied 57 assists while leading the LMU offense to a .309 hitting percentage on the night. Fellow freshman Becky Stehling added seven blocks and eight kills. Libero Whitney Leonard added 16 digs.
LMU opened the match with a 7-1 lead as Tulane took an early timeout to get focused. Though the Green Wave climbed back within five, Day served the Lions back to an eight-point lead at 22-14. LMU held on behind Reneau's five kills on 10 swings to win game one 30-17.
Game two was tighter throughout, as LMU earned game point at 29-28 on a kill by Hughes. But Tulane won three unanswered points to steal the frame 31-29 and send the match into the intermission tied at 1-1.
Both teams hit their best in game three, with the Lions hitting a hot .474 as a team. Back-to-back kills by Reneau and Day gave LMU a five-point lead at 18-13. Two kills by Day extended it to a seven-point difference, but Tulane fought back within four at 23-19. The Lions took care of business after taking a timeout and took a 2-1 lead after a 30-21 game three victory.
LMU rallied behind its fans in game four, taking a 23-15 lead after a block by Reneau and Stehling and kills by Horton and Reneau. Tulane was able to cut the lead the half and force LMU Head Coach Steve Stratos to take a timeout at 23-19. The match was a point-for-point battle the rest of the way until LMU won two straight points to claim the match with a 31-29 game four win.
Day (16 kills, 19 digs), Reneau (15 kills, 20 digs), and Hughes (20 kills, 15 digs) all finished with double-doubles. Reneau (.406) and Motton (.500) each hit better than .400 on the match.
Ksenija Vlaskovic led the Green Wave with 18 kills on .319 hitting percentage Friday night. Jenn Miller added a match-high 27 digs.
Tulane will face 10th-ranked Wisconsin (6-1) in the 10:00 a.m. match Saturday morning to kick-off day two at the LMU Hilton LAX Invitational. Wisconsin topped Columbia 3-0 earlier Friday.
The LMU Lions will then follow with the 12:30 p.m. match against the Columbia Lions (0-1). Both matches will be carried on Gametracker, while the battle of the Lions will also be featured on the Lions' Audio Network at LMULions.com.