After a rough patch in an otherwise excellent season, Loyola Marymount University’s women’s volleyball team rebounded with two home-court West Coast Conference victories last weekend, snapping a three-match losing streak.
On Oct. 25, the Lions served nine aces (five in the final set) in a 25-20, 25-22, 21-25, 25-22 win over San Francisco at Gersten Pavilion. Sara Kovac led all players with 21 kills; Bo Culo had 13 kills and 11 digs; and Tess Reid had 50 assists and 11 digs for the Lions.
Two days later, LMU (17-6 overall, 7-5 WCC) rallied from two sets down for a 22-25, 20-25, 25-11, 25-17, 15-9 win over Santa Clara — three years since the last time the Lions came from an 0-2 “sets deficit” to win (also against Santa Clara).
Kovac tallied 25 kills, Culo had six of the Lions’ 13 aces, Reid had 52 assists and 15 digs, and Kekai Whitford had 17 kills. Santa Clara freshman Michelle Shaffer (from La Reina High School) led the Broncos with 17 kills.
The Lions travel to Pacific and St. Mary’s this week for matches Nov. 1 and 3 before returning home for their final three WCC matches of the year against Pepperdine (Nov. 10), Portland (Nov. 15) and Gonzaga (Nov. 17).
LMU goalkeeper Charlee Pruitt’s eight saves weren’t quite enough on a wet night in the Rose City Oct. 26, as Portland scored in the second half for a 1-0 win. Several of Pruitt’s saves ranged from difficult to spectacular, but her mates were unable to penetrate the Pilots’ net despite a dozen shots.
On Oct. 28 at Spokane, a back-and-forth contest saw the Lions (3-12-4, 1-6-1 WCC) equalize twice and take the lead once, before Gonzaga (9-4-4, 4-2-2 WCC) escaped with a 4-3 victory.
After the Bulldogs scored just four minutes into the game, LMU tied it up nine minutes later as Ali King scored her second header goal in as many weeks, assisted by Simone Handy.
The Lions’ Maki Kono converted a penalty kick in the 36th minute, her third goal of the season, for a 2-1 lead at halftime. But the Bulldogs scored in the 53rd and 57th minutes for a 3-2 lead.
LMU tallied the equalizer in the 78th minute when Shelby Cormier’s long pass toward the box found Sarina Bolden, who out-jumped the opposing goalkeeper and headed her team-leading sixth goal of the season into the net. Just one minute later, however, Gonzaga re-took the lead, this time for keeps.
The Lions’ final game is Nov. 3, at Sullivan Field against WCC leader BYU (12-4-1, 7-1 WCC). The 6 p.m. game will be preceded by Senior Day recognitions to honor the seven departing seniors playing in their final collegiate game.
Two one-goal losses last week at Sullivan Field pushed the Lions’ record to 5-11 (2-3 in the WCC),
On Oct. 26, backup goalie Mitchell Wilson posted five saves for the Lions, but a 60th minute goal gave Pacific a 1-0 victory in a game where emotions ran high and numerous red and yellow cards were handed out by the officials.
A late rally nearly pulled the Lions even against undefeated St. Mary’s Oct. 28, but LMU came up a goal short in a 3-2 loss. St. Mary’s scored all of its goals in the game’s first 25 minutes, before the Lions came back on goals by Jack Sauls (his third of the year), assisted by Ryan Bishop in the 70th minute, and by Alex Liu (assisted by Brandon Sanchez and Antonio Porreco) in the 78th minute.
Two matches remain for LMU, both at home, against San Diego (Nov. 4) and San Francisco (Nov. 10).
Mike Nelson is the former editor of The Tidings (predecessor of Angelus News).
Start your day with Always Forward, our award-winning e-newsletter. Get this smart, handpicked selection of the day’s top news, analysis, and opinion, delivered to your inbox. Sign up absolutely free today!