BIOLA, Calif. - After suffering a dissappointing five-game loss in its season opener, the Lewis-Clark State College women's volleyball team bounced back with a five-set win during the opening day of the Biola University/Holiday Inn Summer Slam on Friday.
The Warriors kicked off the season falling to Cal State San Marcos 25-19, 23-25, 19-25, 25-23, 15-9 but then bounced back and defeated Westmont 25-23, 25-18, 18-25, 21-25, 15-10. LCSC is 1-1 and ranked No. 7 in the NAIA preseason poll. Cal State Marcos is 5-3 and Westmont, which received votes in the preseason poll, is 0-2.
The Warriors wrap up play in the nine-team tournament on Saturday with a pair of Top 25 matches. LCSC meets No. 14 Southern Oregon at 2 p.m. and then takes on host, No. 5 Biola, at 6 p.m.
First-year Warrior coach LaToya Harris said for the first day, she wasn't disappointed in the Warriors' performance despite struggling with consistency.
"We had moments of amazing spurts, but we have to learn after one side out that we need to bounce back," Harris said. "We did some things well and know we have some things that we need to work on. including our passing."
After struggling at times in the opener, the Warriors appeared to have the kinks worked out with victories in the first two games against Westmont. However, LCSC fell into big holes early in games 4 and 5 as Westmont rallied to tie the match. In the fifth game, Warrior seniors Lauryn Herrick and Kelli Tikker took over and combined eight kills to give LC the win.
Herrick got the Warriors rolling early with three kills to help LCSC grab a 4-0 lead in the first game. LCSC led by as much as 14-6, but Westmont rallied to cut the margin to 22-21. Tikker had two kills, while Herrick added one to close out the game.
The Warriors again jumped out to a comfortable lead in the second game at 6-1. LCSC kept the lead throughout in claiming the game.
In the third and fourth sets, it was Westmont that grabbed the big early lead. Westmont led game three 12-4 and game 4 13-4. LCSC could get no closer than four in the third game, but rallied to cut Westmont's lead to 18-17 in game four, but couldn't get over the hump.
In the fifth and deciding game, Herrick had three kills as LC took a 4-0 lead. Tikker added three kills to push the lead to 13-5 and the Warriors were able to close out the match.
Tikker and Herrick, outside hitters who earned all-Frontier Conference honors last season, combined for 31 kills and 23 digs. Both finished with double-doubles as Tikker had 19 kills and 13 digs, while Herrick added 12 kills and 10 digs. Herrick also hit .321 for the match, while Tikker hit .302.
"Kelli really had a solid match for us," Harris said. "She did an amazing job."
Breanne Brown added seven kills and nine digs for the Warriors, while Nevena Dragovic had 26 assists.
The Warriors struggled in their season opener, appearing much like a team that was playing in its first match compared to Cal State San Marcos, which was playing in its seventh match.
LCSC, behind Tikker, rallied and eventually tied the second game at 18. The Warriors took their first lead at 21-20 and then claimed the victory by scoring seven of the final 10 points. Tikker had four kills in the game.
The Warriors carried the momentum into game three and only trailed early. Tikker had five kills in the game as the six-point margin of victory was the largest in the game.
LCSC appeared ready to claim the victory and grabbed leads of 11-7 and 19-16 in the fourth game. But attack errors, something that hurt the Warriors in the match, began to add up and allowed San Marcos to grab a 23-21 lead. Consecutive kills by freshman Ali Hubert and Brown tied the match, but a Warrior service error followed by a San Marcos service ace gave the Cougars the win and forced a fifth game.
In the decisive fifth game, the Warriors fell in a 4-0 hole as Lyndsey Sappington recorded two aces for the Cougars. LCSC eventually tied the game at 6 and again at 8, but San Marcos used a 3-0 run for an 11-8 advantage. After a kill by Brown cut the lead to two, LCSC committed two attack errors and a ball handling error to give San Marcos three points. A service ace helped the Cougars run off the final four points and claim the win.
Tikker led the Warriors with 13 kills, four block assists, three digs and two service aces, while Brown had 11 kills and 19 digs. Nicole Graybeal added nine kills, four digs, three blocks, and six block assists. She also hit .318 for the match.
In all, the Warriors outblocked San Marcos 11-5 and had a 57-55 advantage in digs. LCSC, however, only hit .189 for the match and San Marcos hit .233 and had 16 service aces.
Harris credited Brown, Herrick, and Tikker for having solid matches.
As for the matches today, Harris said she would like to see the Warriors improve their passing and get the middle, including All-American Graybeal, more involved in the offense.
LCSC had trouble getting much going in the opening game and hit just .067, although Herrick provided some spark with three kills and three service aces. The second game also started out rough when the Warriors fell behind 11-3.