Oct. 7, 2006
San Diego, Calif. - Defense was the story in the showdown for first place Saturday afternoon, as Loyola Marymount and 22nd-ranked San Diego were the remaining undefeated teams in West Coast Conference action. The Lions (15-4, 3-1 WCC) out-dug USD (13-4, 4-0 WCC) 20-10 in the final frame, but fell 3-1 in the televised match-up.
It could not have been a better set-up for the live televised game, as both teams entered a perfect 3-0 in WCC play.
Both teams played their characteristically tough defense, with LMU earning the final edge in digs after the Lions' performance in game four.
Setter K.C. Walsh came off the bench to give the Lions the spark they needed in game three, preventing the USD sweep. She finished with 33 assists.
The Toreros took an early 7-3 lead in game one, but LMU battled back to tie things at 10-10 on a kill by Hughes. LMU setter Ashley Dutro kept the Lions within two at 24-22 with a pair of kills. But the Toreros hung on for the 30-25 game one win.
USD took the lead early again in the second frame at 14-9. But the serving of Hughes and a pair of kills from senior Sandy Krone started a rally that pulled LMU back within one at 15-14. The Lions tied things up at 16 all, but could never pull ahead and dropped game two by the same score of 30-25.
The Lions came out of the intermission in control, building a 14-9 lead and forcing the Toreros to take a timeout to talk things over. Walsh came in to set for the Lions, and helped Hughes and Day connect for seven early kills on that 14-9 run. While the Toreros never let LMU get comfortable, they never caught the Lions. Kills by Hughes and Day earned LMU game point and forced a fourth game at 30-27. Walsh helped the LMU offense hit .326 in the third frame.
San Diego built a four-point lead by 6-2 in game four. But behind the tough serving of sophomore Kiera Reilly, the Lions rattled off four straight points to tie things at 9-9 on a block by Reneau and Jania Motton. From there, the game moved to a back-and-forth battle until USD won five straight points to take a 20-17 lead. The Toreros worked up to a 27-23 lead, but three consecutive Lion points kept LMU in the game. Though the Lions would score again on a USD service error, the Toreros closed the match with a 30-27 win in game four.
USD's Kristen Carlson led both teams with 19 kills.
The Lions return to Los Angeles for another big week of WCC play. LMU will host Saint Mary's Thursday and San Francisco on Saturday in Gersten Pavilion.