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September 3, 2011

Lutes Split at Puget Sound Volleyball Tournament

TACOMA - Pacific Lutheran split a pair of 3-1 decisions on Saturday at the Puget Sound Volleyball Tournament, defeating UC Santz Cruz and losing to tournament host Puget Sound at Memorial Fieldhouse. 

After winning a pair of three-set victories on Friday, the Lutes opened their Saturday action with a 25-23, 18-25, 25-22, 25-14 victory over Santa Cruz. Playing against the No. 22-ranked Loggers in the tournament's final match, the Lutes managed to hit just .105 in dropping a 25-21, 20-25, 25-18, 25-22 decision.

Senior middle blocker Erin Bremond and frosh setter Samantha North were named to the all-tournament team.

PLU 3, UC Santa Cruz 1

The Lutes had a difficult time with the Banana Slugs, at least through the first three sets, before finally wrapping up the victory with a dominating performance in the fourth set.

The Lutes had to rally from a 16-9 first set deficit, and they still trailed 19-14 when they ran off six of the next seven points, including a pair of kills by Kelsie Moore, to tie it at 20 apiece. UCSC regained the lead on a kill by Helen Milne, but the Lutes rallied with four straight points on kills by Erin Bremond, Moore and Allison Wood, and Haley Urdahl's service ace. The set ended when on a UCSC service error.

After feeling as though they might have let the Lutes back into the first set, the Banana Slugs never trailed in the second set. They broke away from a 4-4 tie and gradually pulled away, leading by as many as 10 points before settling for the seven-point victory.

The Lutes never trailed in the third set, though there were two early ties. PLU took its largest lead of the set at 17-11 on Bremond's kill, but Santa Cruz would not go away easily, eventually tying the set at 18-18 on a kill by Elisabeth Trambley. Leading 23-22, the Lutes closed it on consecutive kills by Wood and Moore.

Set-opening kills by Bethany Huston, Moore and Samantha North got PLU off to a strong start in the fourth, and the outcome was never in doubt as the Lutes collected 15 kills and just two errors for a .448 attack percentage.

Moore led all players with 14 kills, and she hit a solid .278. Bremond added 13 kills and a .391 attack percentage as the Lutes finished hitting .216 as a team. North added 43 assists and Blair Bjorkman was all over the back line with 27 digs.

Trambley had 10 kills for the Banana Slugs, who hit .183 in the match.

Puget Sound 3, PLU 1

The Lutes finished with 44 kills and 26 errors on 171 attempts against a Puget Sound defense that compiled 10 team blocks and 88 digs.

Moore and Bremond both had 11 kills to lead the Lutes, who also got 33 assists from North and an incredible 41 digs from Bjorkman, the junior libero from Puyallup.

The Lutes led through much of the early portion of the second set before Puget Sound tied it at 14-14. A four-point run, with bookend kills by Moore and North, gave the Lutes an advantage that they would not lose.

The crucial third set was tied at 18-18 when the Jackie Harvey put the Loggers on her back - or better yet, her arm - as she pounded out three straight kills. The hosts closed with seven points, six on kills.

As with the third set, the fourth was tied late, this time at 22-22, when UPS finished it, and the match, with three straight points. The Lutes were unable to get into their offense down the stretch and the Loggers made them pay.

Pacific Lutheran, 3-1 for the season, returns to action next Friday and Saturday when it plays four matches at the Texas Lutheran Tournament in Seguin, Texas.