Lutes See Win Streak End Against Puget Sound
TACOMA - It has been said that all good things must come to an end, and you would have to consider a 35-match conference winning streak a good thing.
The Puget Sound Loggers got the momentum early and never let go, handing Pacific Lutheran its first Northwest Conference volleyball loss since the 2008 season, 25-19, 25-19, 25-19, on Wednesday night in Memorial Fieldhouse.
The Lutes (12-4) and Loggers (11-4) are now tied atop the Northwest Conference standings, both with 6-1 records.
The Loggers jumped on the Lutes from the outset of the first set, breaking a 3-3 tie on a kill by Molly Gibson and never trailing after that. The hosts took their biggest lead at 15-5, taking advantage of three blocks, two PLU attack errors and a ball handling error. Trailing 18-10, the Lutes rallied to within four points at 23-19, but Natalie Monro finished it off with two of her four kills in the set.
After that, it was the Brynn Blickenstaff show as the junior outside hitter put the Loggers on her back and brought them home. Blickenstaff, who had three kills in the first set, pounded down eight more in the second set on her way to 17 kills in the match.
With the Lutes holding a 19-17 lead in the second set, Blickenstaff recorded two kills to put her team ahead 20-19 on the way to a set-closing eight-point run. Stephanie O'Connor served out for the hosts, her overhand jump serve putting pressure on the Lutes, who had trouble getting into their offense throughout the match.
In the third set, the teams were tied at 13-13, and at that point Blickenstaff didn't have a kill. That's when she took over, however, recording six kills down the stretch as the Loggers slowly pulled away.
Blickenstaff finished the match with a .406 attack percentage, and the Loggers hit .190 as a team.
PLU's inability to sustain any offense was evident in a .080 attack percentage, and only junior middle blocker Erin Bremond was able to provide a threat for the Lutes at the net with 10 kills and a .350 percentage. Beth Hanna and Kelsie Moore, a pair of outside hitters who have led the Lutes in kills this season, were taken away by the tough UPS net defense as both managed just five kills in the match.
Pacific Lutheran returns to Northwest Conference action at 4 p.m. Sunday when it hosts the Linfield Wildcats in Olson Auditorium.
- PLU -