Sept. 8, 2006
Los Angeles, Calif. - Defense wins games. The old sports adage proved true Friday night, as Loyola Marymount used tenacious defense to post a 3-1 (28-30, 30-21, 30-18, 30-23) comeback win against UC Irvine in day one action at the LMU Four Points Sheraton-LAX Classic. UC Irvine (0-6) edged the Lions in game one, but LMU (6-2) took three straight frames to win its fourth straight match.
In a match that looked light a defensive highlight reel for both squads, LMU finished out-digging the Anteaters 65 to 56. Heather Hughes, Christianna Reneau, and Lauren Kirk each recorded double-digit digs.
"I think that we played great defense," LMU Head Coach Steve Stratos said. "Our defense got better and better as the match progressed. The girls were just groveling all over the court going after balls, and I think that was really a big part of the win."
Another key to the Lion victory Friday was the play of junior setter Ashley Dutro. Dutro entered the match toward the end of game one and gave the Lions the offensive spark they needed, helping LMU to a match-high .438 team hitting percentage in the second game. The Lions finished the match out-hitting UC Irvine .275 to .188, and Dutro finished with 43 assists.
"Dutro was huge tonight," Stratos said. "She played her best match of the year so far."
The victory marked the second straight weekend the Lions have dropped the first game and came back to win three straight games to take the match. Last weekend, the comeback victory was against defending Atlantic Coast Conference Champion North Carolina.
The Lions hit just .120 in game one, but turned it on in game two, led by Hughes' five kills in the frame.
"Volleyball is a very strange game," Stratos said. "When the game is over, you can just start over. We made a huge adjustment and changed our lineup again. It seems like we have a lot of players who can play, and we made a change and it suddenly clicked. That has been happening a lot this year."
Led by Emily Day's four aces, the Lions totaled 12 services aces on the match. Kirk and Dutro each had three.
Despite Dutro's success at the helm of the LMU offense, it was a strange match for both teams' setters. The setters combined for 19 called setting errors.
UCI was led Lauren Kellerman's 19 kills. Libero Devon Sutherland had a match-high 19 digs.
Hughes (19 kills, 14 digs) and Reneau (11 kills, 12 digs) finished with double-doubles. Hughes (.405) and Sandy Krone (.429) each hit over the .400 mark.
The win marks the Lions' fourth straight victory and improves their home record to 4-1.
Play continues Saturday at the 2006 LMU Four Points Sheraton-LAX Classic with four matches in Gersten Pavilion. Nevada and UC Irvine start the day with a 10:00 a.m. match. LMU and SMU will follow at 12:30 p.m. to close out the morning session.
All matches are carried on Gametracker and live video streaming at www.LMULions.com. LMU's match will also have audio on Lions' All-Access free of charge for Lion fans. Visit Tournament Central for all the action of the LMU Four Points Sheraton-LAX Classic.