Oct. 12, 2006
Los Angeles, Calif. - Thursday night's West Coast Conference volleyball battle between Loyola Marymount and Saint Mary's was a match of momentum, and when the dust cleared, it was Saint Mary's escaped with the 3-2 (25-30, 30-27, 30-32, 32-30, 15-8) victory. The Lions (15-5, 3-2 WCC) controlled game one, but let the momentum slip away, as the Gaels (8-7, 3-1 WCC) hit a match-high .349 to mount the comeback in game four.
LMU juniors Christianna Reneau and Heather Hughes combined for 49 kills, but Saint Mary's held off further offensive attacks, out-blocking the Lions 21 to nine. The Gaels' Megan Burton had 11 of those blocks.
Sophomore Kiera Reilly posted four of the Lions' eight service aces.
The Lions looked in control in the first game, as the Gaels hit just .045. Reneau led the way with six kills in the first frame, as the Lions won 30-25.
Saint Mary's sent the match to the intermission tied 1-1 after taking game two 30-27.
The Lions hit their best in game three, as setter Ashley Dutro helped the Lions to a .333 team attack percentage. Reilly notched back-to-back service aces to give the Lions the 25-21 lead, but Saint Mary's charged back to tie things at 28 each. Hughes sealed the win with two straight kills to make it 32-30 and put the Lions up 2-1.
But the Gaels picked up momentum in game four and never let go, hitting a match-high .349 as a team. The Lions led at 28-23, but Saint Mary's once again fought back to force the decisive game five.
That final frame was full of twists and turns, as SMC took a 7-1 lead. The Lions came back within four at 10-6 on kills by Reneau and Hughes. But substitution controversies resulted in the Lions losing three points, as the score returned to 10-3. LMU would again pull within four at 11-7, but eventually fell 15-8 in game five.
The Lions did display their characteristically strong defense, out-digging Saint Mary's 101 to 79.
Dutro finished with 65 assists, while LMU libero Lauren Kirk equaled a season-high 22 digs.
Hughes and Reneau both finished with double-doubles after combining for the 49 kills and 37 digs.
The Lions continue WCC action Saturday, hosting San Francisco at 1:00 p.m. in Gersten Pavilion. Fans can follow all of the action as it happens on Gametracker and Lions' All-Access at www.LMULions.com.