Sept. 8, 2007
LOS ANGELES - Playing in the title match of the LMU Hilton LAX Invitational, Loyola Marymount (6-4) volleyball was four points shy of knocking off 10th-ranked Wisconsin in Gersten Pavilion. The Badgers (8-1) held on for the 3-2 (21-30, 30-24, 30-23, 27-30, 15-13) victory and the tournament title.
Both teams entered the match 2-0 in tournament play this weekend, setting up the title match. And what a title match it was, as the programs battled for nearly two and a half hours and needed a deciding game five to settle the score. The match featured 31 tie scores and 10 lead changes over the course of the evening.
LMU was represented on the all-tournament team by seniors Christianna Reneau and Heather Hughes. Reneau posted statistical double-doubles in each of the three matches on the weekend, including 13 kills and 13 digs tonight against the Badgers. Hughes, the reigning National Player of the Week, had double-doubles in two of three matches on the weekend including tonight's 22 kills and 17 digs.
Wisconsin placed Katherine Dykstra (13 kills, four blocks tonight), Allison Wack (18 kills), and Jackie Simpson (58 assists, 14 digs) on the all-tournament team. Simpson was named the tournament's most valuable player.
Featuring a big lineup, Wisconsin had the advantage in the blocking column, tallying 15 on the night. But the Lions took advantage of 13 Badger service errors, while LMU had just six service errors in the five-game match. Junior Emily Day had a match-high four aces.
The Lions had four players with double-digit digs tonight, including freshman libero Whitney Leonard, who had 18.
Reneau served the Lions to six unanswered points in game one to give the Lions a 25-17 lead they did not relinquish in the frame. One of Day's four aces gave LMU the 30-21 win, as the Lions held Wisconsin to a team hitting percentage of .000.
But Wisconsin returned in game two to hit .375 and evened the match at 1-1 with a 30-24 victory.
LMU led by as many as five points early in game three, but the Badgers fought back for the 30-23 win.
Both teams hit their best in the fourth frame, but the Lions' .400 proved too much for Wisconsin. LMU evened the match at 2-2 with a 30-27 victory in game four.
Though game five was only played to 15 points, the frame featured 10 tie scores as the teams battled until the end. Tied at 13-13, the Badgers won two straight points to cut the Lions' upset bid just short at 15-13.
The 8-1 Badgers had only dropped a game to 15th-ranked BYU, who defeated Wisconsin 3-2 to account for its only loss. Wisconsin had swept every other opponent 3-0 until running into the Lions Saturday night.
LMU finished the week 3-1 with two of the four matches lasting five games and two of the three victories coming against opponents who were undefeated at the time. Three of the Lions' four losses have come to teams which are currently ranked in the nation's top-25.
Up next for the Lions is the Asics Tournament, where the Lions will face Pacific and Oregon State Thursday and Friday in Stockton, Calif. The matches will be carried on Gametracker and the Lions' Audio Network, both at LMULions.com.