The LMU women’s volleyball team (15-3, 5-2 WCC) defeated the Pacific Tigers (6-11, 1-5 WCC) in five sets, 25-20, 26-28, 25-20, 22-25, 15-10, clinching their fourth consecutive victory Saturday afternoon at Gersten Pavilion.
After sweeping three straight WCC opponents, the Lions were able to outlast a competitive Pacific team in a highly contested match that featured 17 total lead changes.
"UOP is a tough team and we played just good enough to be able to beat them,” said Head Coach Aaron Mansfield. “We took a long time to find our rhythm, which is not encouraging, but at the same time, we showed some resiliency in the sense of making an adjustment in the middle of a match, or at the end of a match, just in time to pull out a win.”
LMU struggled with 16 serving errors, but were able to capitalize with seven aces. The Lions outplayed UOP at the net with eight total team blocks compared to the Tigers five. The biggest statistical difference between the two teams was LMU's 18 attacking errors in comparison to Pacific's 31.
“We were a little inconsistent at points, but we did a good job just working throughout the entire thing,” said senior opposite Sara Kovac. “I think we finished really strong in the fifth set, so I’m proud of our team for that.”
LMU’s Bo Culo (15), Kovac (14) and Savannah Slattery (11) each had double-digit kills in the victory, while Tess Reid led the Lions with 53 assists. Kekai Whitford had an impressive 26 digs and Emma Johnson led LMU with a .571 hitting percentage with nine kills on 14 attempts.
“Emma Johnson was good again, really efficient. Meredith Teague did a nice job offensively as well,” Coach Mansfield said. “Sara Kovac didn’t start off the match real strong, but she ended really strong, so we’re really proud of her for sticking with it.”
After three sets, Kovac had seven kills on 25 attempts with five errors and a .080 hitting percentage. In the final two sets, Kovac posted seven kills on 14 attempts with a .500 hitting percentage and no errors.
“I think I did a good job of just trying to get out of [the tough start],” Kovac said. “I had really great teammates around me to just continue playing one play at a time. I really owe it to my teammates to keep trusting me, so I [could] finish as strong as I did.”
The LMU volleyball team is currently in third place in the WCC standings behind Pepperdine and No. 1 BYU. The Lions will attempt to extend their winning streak this weekend in Malibu against WCC rival Pepperdine (12-5, 6-1 WCC) on Saturday, Oct. 13 at noon.