After blazing through its non-conference opposition, the Loyola Marymount University women’s volleyball team has stumbled a bit in the opening week of West Coast Conference play.
On Sept. 25, the Lions lost their first home match of the season to the University of San Diego, 25-22, 19-25, 25-21, 25-20, at Gersten Pavilion. The Lions (11-3 overall, 1-2 in WCC) split their first two matches, losing to Gonzaga in Spokane Sept. 20 but defeating Portland in Portland Sept. 22.
Against USD, Tess Reid posted 45 assists, Emma Johnson 13 kills and Bo Culo 13 digs, but 12 service errors led to the Lions’ downfall as San Diego — whose roster includes former CIF Player of the Year Kaity Edwards from Marymount High School — won for the 23rd time in the last 25 meetings between the two schools.
“We just got a little stagnant with some of our pin hitting and our decision making, and that is something that we can learn from moving forward," said LMU coach Aaron Mansfield.
Last Saturday, the Lions survived a furious Portland comeback to prevail, 25-22, 25-16, 22-25, 22-25, 15-13, over the home team. LMU trailed 8-4 in the fifth set, but after a timeout fought back to 9-9 on a Slattery ace, took the lead at 13-12, and closed out the match when Slattery converted her 17th kill.
Culo recorded 25 kills and 10 digs, and Reid had a season-high 59 assists and 11 digs. “Our team stuck together, even when things got tough,” said Mansfield. “We are pleased with any win we can get on the road in this conference.”
LMU plays at Santa Clara Sept. 27 and at San Francisco Sept. 29 before returning home to play St. Mary’s Oct. 4.
LMU bounced back from a two-goal first half deficit to earn a 2-2 tie at Long Beach State Sept. 22.
Melissa Lewis headed home a corner kick from Jacki Fiacco in the 72nd minute to tie the score, after Shelby Cormier converted a pass from Kallie Kampfl in the 32nd minute for the first Lions goal to cut Long Beach’s lead to 2-1.
“We are very proud of the players and how they responded,” said LMU coach Michelle Myers. “It was a physical game and we battled hard and never gave up.”
Goalkeeper Charlie Pruitt posted six saves for the Lions (2-6-3), who now shift focus to WCC play, starting Sept. 28 at St. Mary’s and Sept. 30 at Pacific in Stockton. They return to Sullivan Field for three straight starting with Santa Clara on Oct. 5.
The Lions snapped a six-match losing streak with a 2-1 win over Cal State Northridge Sept. 20 at Sullivan Field.
Kris Fourcand began the scoring in the 15th minute with his second goal of the year, assisted by Gerardo Lopez and Leo Zulli. Freshman Bjarki Ragnar from Iceland converted from the right side in the 53rd minute for a 2-0 LMU lead before the Matadors scored late, and junior goalkeeper Paul Lewis recorded six saves to help protect the lead.
LMU hosts Cal State Fullerton Sept. 27, then travels to New Mexico Oct. 2 before starting WCC play Oct. 7 at Santa Clara.
Mike Nelson is the former editor of the Tidings (predecessor of Angelus News).
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