There may be no place like home, but don’t tell that to Loyola Marymount University’s women’s volleyball team.
Starting the 2018 campaign with 10 straight road matches, the Lions ran their mark to 8-1 last weekend with their second tournament title of the year, the Kansas Invitational at Lawrence, and beating the host Jayhawks in the final.
The 25-20, 28-26, 23-25, 25-17 triumph on Sept. 8 followed straight set wins over Auburn and American University on Sept. 7, and gave LMU the best start to its season since beginning the 2014 campaign 12-0. The Lions previously captured the Hilton Penn's Landing Temple Invitational title.
Leading the Lions’ march through the tournament was junior setter Tess Reid, playing less than an hour from her hometown of Lenexa, Kan. Her 135 assists (51 in the final), 26 digs and all-around play earned Reid honors as Tournament MVP and West Coast Conference Player of the Week.
Sophomore Meredith Teague (33 kills and 10 aces) and junior Savannah Slattery (45 kills) made the All-Tournament team, as the Lions also defeated Auburn (25-18, 25-20, 25-15) and American University (25-22, 25-20, 25-23).
“Our team keeps getting better,” said coach Aaron Mansfield. “We were tested in a lot of different ways this tournament and we responded really well to adversity. I'm very proud of how aggressive our team was in every facet of the game.”
LMU ends its season-opening road swing Sept. 14 with a neutral court match against Southern Utah in Long Beach, then plays its home opener Sept. 15 (noon) at Gersten Pavilion against Lamar before opening the WCC season Sept. 20 in Spokane against Gonzaga.
Goalkeeper Charlee Pruitt made eight saves to keep DePaul out of the net and help LMU’s women’s soccer team earn a 0-0 tie Sept. 9 in Chicago.
The Lions nearly won in the last few minutes of regulation, but Simone Handy’s shot from the box was denied by an upper corner save, and Jackie Fiacco’s point blank attempt in overtime was blocked.
The tie gave the Lions a 2-4-2 record, after a 1-0 loss Sept. 6 to No. 15 Northwestern which tallied the game’s lone goal in the 57th minute.
This week, LMU hosts No. 8 UCLA at Sullivan Field Sept. 13 (7 p.m.) and No. 24 Texas Tech Sept. 16 (1 p.m.).
The Lions (1-4) were beaten Sept. 7 on the road UC Irvine, 2-0, and at home Sept. 9 by Long Island, 3-1. Jack Sauls tallied LMU’s lone goal in the 83rd minute against Long Island on an assist from Antonio Porreco.
This week LMU is at Grand Canyon Sept. 13 and home to Seattle Sept. 16 (4 p.m.), with West Coast Conference play beginning Oct. 7 at Santa Clara. The LMU roster includes three freshmen from local Catholic high schools: Kyle Carey (Santa Margarita), Corbin Mercado (Servite) and Dylan Shockey (J.Serra).
A pair of narrow losses last week to nationally ranked teams left the Lions 2-4 heading into this week’s battle at UCLA. LMU was beaten Sept. 8 by No. 8 Pepperdine (13-11 in overtime) and No. 10 UC Irvine (10-8) in the WCC Challenge Cup at Malibu.
The Lions’ roster includes junior Austin Clark of Santa Margarita, sophomore Scott Thomas of Mater Dei and freshman Jon Lien of Servite.
Mike Nelson is the former editor of the Tidings (predecessor of Angelus News).
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