Friday, November 16, 2012

Lutes NCAA tournament is brief

Volleyball team outed in straight sets by Chapmen

by Christian Dilworth, Guest Writer

Pacific Lutheran’s hopes of a championship ended last Friday in the opening match of the NCAA Div. III West Regional Tournament against Chapman.
   
The tournament was hosted by California Lutheran University.
  
It wasn’t a close game either. The Lutes lost in straight sets, 13-25, 15-25 and 22-25.
   
“They just played better than we did,” head coach Kevin Aoki said.
   
Entering the tournament as the no. 7 seed, the Lutes concluded their season with a 20-6 record. The Chapman Panthers, the no. 2 seed, improved to 24-6 and moved on to play the University of Puget Sound in the second round.
   
The Panthers fell to the Loggers in straight sets. UPS won the West Regional tournament and advanced to the final round of eight. 
   
The Panthers flexed their offensive muscle throughout the match.
   
They flaunted an impressive .314 team attack percentage with three players — Ashleigh Gideon, Kate Ferrin, and McKenna Roice — achieving over 10 kills. Ferrin executed 12 kills with no errors on 19 attempts, a .632 percentage.
   
The Lutes’ offense was inconsistent until the third set. Sophomore middle blocker Amy Wooten was the only Lute who garnered double-digit kills with 10.
   
Junior middle blocker Becca Holtgeerts contributed seven kills. The team finished with a .116 attack percentage.
   
Although Chapman outmatched  the Lutes, PLU was up 10-9 in the first set before Chapman ran away with 10 of the next 11 points. They didn’t slow down for the remainder of the second set, leaving the Lutes with a large deficit.
   
Amid the urgency of the final set, the Lutes gave the Panthers a serious push to bring the match to a fourth set. However, the Panthers’ offense was too much for the Lutes and they dropped the third straight set, 22-25.
   
Senior Brianne Vincent ended with 21 assists and 2 block assists. Senior Blair Bjorkman, named to the All-West Region first team, led the team with 20 digs.
   
Junior middle blocker Bethany Huston, who was also named to the All-West Region first team, finished with 5 block assists.
   
Sophomore setter Samantha North rounded out the trio of Lutes added to the All-West team. North missed the final eight matches of the season due to a knee injury.
   
Huston was named a Second Team All-American while Bjorkman and North were named to the Honorable Mention All-American team.