The LMU women’s volleyball team (15-4 overall, 5-3 WCC) suffered a tough loss at the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) Cup against conference rival Pepperdine on Saturday afternoon at the Firestone Fieldhouse in Malibu.
The Lions were swept 25-18, 25-18, 25-18, by the Pepperdine Waves (13-5, 7-1 WCC) breaking LMU’s four-match win streak. The Lions fell to fourth place in the WCC standings and Pepperdine remained in second behind undefeated No. 1 BYU.
"Pepperdine played better than us in every category,” said Head Coach Aaron Mansfield. “It felt like we were chasing them the whole time. Our serving and passing has been really steady for us all year and we didn't do either of those things particularly well today."
For the first time this season, not a single Lion registered double-digit kills with junior outside hitter Savannah Slattery coming the closest with nine kills. Pepperdine’s junior outside hitter Hannah Frohling was dominant with 14 kills and a .357 hitting percentage, as was freshman outside hitter Rachel Ahrens with 13 kills with a .346 hitting percentage.
“We kind of got our butts kicked so... how we bounce back from other losses is we watch film, we look at the analytics and we show up to practice on Monday and get better at the things we need to get better at,” said Mansfield. “We had a really good talk with our team in the locker room afterwards, there was obviously disappointment and frustration, but there was a lot of good opportunities to learn [from].”
LMU as a team had just a .088 hitting percentage, the first time the Lions have been held under .100 percentage this season and the second time they’ve hit under .200 percentage, compared to Pepperdine’s .371 percentage. The Lions were only able to get 29 kills, whereas Pepperdine racked up 46 kills. A big difference in the box score is the Lions six blocks compared to the Waves impressive 12 blocks, including six of which came from sophomore middle blocker Alli O’harra. LMU had 29 assists led by junior setter Tess Reid (21), senior defensive specialist Kekai Whitford (5) and junior outside hitter Bo Culo (3). Pepperdine compiled 43 assists during the match, with the majority coming from senior setter Blossom Sato with 37 assists.
“They've shown some really good resiliency throughout the season, so I don't expect anything different when we show up to practice tomorrow we’re going to get back to work and figure out how we can try to beat BYU and San Diego on the road,” said Mansfield.
LMU will continue the tough stretch of their schedule this week when they travel to Provo, Utah to face the top ranked team in the country No. 1 BYU (17-0 overall, 7-0 WCC). The Lions will face the No. 1 BYU Cougars on Thursday, Oct. 18 at 6 p.m. before heading down to San Diego to face the third place team in the WCC standings, San Diego (9-9, 6-2 WCC).