LC volleyball team falls to No. 2-ranked Concordia-Irvine
LEWISTON, Idaho – The University of Concordia-Irvine women’s volleyball team gave Lewis-Clark State College a glimmer of hope on Saturday. Check that; make it a quick window and small glimmer of hope.
Looking every bit like the No. 2-ranked team in the NAIA, the Eagles withstood a strong effort by the Warriors in the second set to sweep to a 25-12, 27-25, 25-12 win to wrap up play in the Comfort Inn Tournament at the LCSC Activity Center on Saturday night.
Concordia, which improved to 8-0 overall, finished the five-team round-robin tournament undefeated at 4-0 and lost only three of 18 sets. College of Idaho, ranked No. 18, went 3-1. LCSC followed at 2-2, while Great Falls went 1-3 and Northwest University went 0-4.
In other matches on Saturday, LCSC rallied past Great Falls 17-25, 25-16, 15-25, 25-22, 15-11, College of Idaho defeated Great Falls 25-18, 25-11, 25-18, Concordia swept Northwest 25-12, 25-67, 25-18, and College of Idaho started the day by stopping Northwest 25-22, 25-19, 25-19.
In the Concordia-LCSC match, the Eagles got the ball rolling early and led 12-3 in the first set before LCSC rallied to cut the margin to 14-9 on an ace serve by sophomore Lauryn Herrick. Concordia, however, scored nine of the final 12 points to take the set.
The second set saw LCSC take its first lead at 6-5 before the contest went back-and-forth. LCSC led 19-15 at one point, but Concordia tied the set at 20. The Warriors then held leads of 22-20 and 23-21, but couldn’t close it out as the Eagles eventually went ahead 25-24 before the contest was again tied at 25. A kill and then a tip by Brooke Marino for the final point gave the Eagles the win.
LCSC didn’t bounce back well from the second game loss because the Eagles raced out to a 14-6 advantage in the third game. LCSC couldn’t get closer than six the rest of the way.
“They are a fantastic team, which is why they are the No. 2-ranked team in the country,” LCSC coach Jen Greeny said. “But this was a great experience for us at this point in the season. To play competition like that gives us something to strive for.”
The Warriors are the two-time defending Frontier Conference regular season and tournament champions, but have eight new players on the team this year and Greeny said the players are still learning about each other’s strengths and how to play together.
“This weekend showed we still have a long ways to go,” she said. “We’re still not comfortable with the lineup yet, but it will come.”
Senior Anile Clemente led LCSC against Concordia with seven kills, 13 digs and a service ace. Katie Hinrichs added 16 digs, while Dana Christiansen had five kills and Jenika Bird four.
Against Great Falls, Clemente and Dani Barrett finished with seven kills apiece in the final two sets to help the Warriors rally for the win.
After losing their first home match in three seasons the night before in a five-set heartbreaker to College of Idaho, the Warriors had trouble early bouncing back against the Argos. That’s when seniors Clemente, Barrett and Christiansen stepped in. Barrett had five of her 14 kills in the fourth game as LCSC rallied to erase to four-point leads by Great Falls, the last at 16-12. Clemente chipped in two kills during a 5-0 run that gave LCSC the lead for good at 20-17.
In the fifth set, both Clemente and Christiansen finished with three kills apiece as LCSC put together a 5-0 run early to break a 3-3 tie and never look back.
Clemente finished with a match-high 16 kills while Barrett added 14 and Christiansen 10. Clemente also had 15 digs and three service aces, while Lisa Davis added four aces, 22 assists and 11 digs. Hinrichs led LCSC in digs with 17. Barrett added five blocks.
The Warriors hit .179 for the match, while Great Falls hit .182. In the final two sets, however, LCSC hit .240, while Great Falls hit .115.
Greeny said she thought freshman defensive specialist Stephanie Shumaker played well on Saturday. Shumaker had six digs against Concordia and celebrated her 18th birthday on Saturday.
The Warriors resume play on Wednesday in a match in Spokane against Whitworth College and then head to the Concordia-Irvine Tournament where it will play No. 4-ranked Azusa Pacific and No. 3-ranked California Baptist on Friday, and then top-ranked Fresno Pacific and No. 10 Vanguard on Saturday.