A victory over Appalachian State Aug. 31 gave the Loyola Marymount University volleyball team a 2-1 record in its season-opening matches at the Cactus Cup in Tucson.

The day before, LMU defeated Samford 3-2, but fell to 25th-ranked Arizona 3-0 in the first of four tournaments on the Lions’ schedule to start the 2019 season. 

"This was a challenging opening weekend to take on, and our team responded really well as a whole," said LMU coach Aaron Mansfield. "We will learn more about what we did well this weekend and areas where we can grow. We are excited to take on another challenging weekend in Houston next week.”

In its first match against Samford, the Lions went to a lengthy fifth-set tiebreaker for emerging victorious, 25-20, 19-25, 25-22, 16-25, 24-22. The last set included 19 ties and seven lead changes until freshman Mary Shroll smacked a service ace for the victory.

Three freshmen were instrumental in the win: Shroll with 15 digs, Rose Booth with 18 kills and Emmeleyn Walters with five blocks. Senior Tess Reid collected 50 assists.

Later that day, LMU battled host Arizona but lost 25-18, 26-24, 25-21. The Lions tied the match at 22 in the second set and led twice in the third before the Wildcats prevailed.

Against Appalachian State, senior Savannah Slattery provided the first-set impetus that propelled LMU to a 25-15, 25-21, 22-25, 24-21 victory. Slattery ended the match with 16 kills, Shroll had 27 digs, and senior Jessie Prichard had 37 assists, 

This week, LMU heads to Houston to take on Rice and Abilene Christian at the Rice University Tournament Sept. 6 and 7. The Lions then travel to Lincoln, Nebraska, for the Nebraska Tournament Sept. 13 and 14, and to Indianapolis for the Butler Tournament Sept. 20 and 21, before starting West Coast Conference play Sept. 26 at home against Santa Clara.

Mike Nelson is the former editor of The Tidings (predecessor of Angelus News).

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