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Lutes Volleyball Finishes 3-1 at Opening Tournament

Blair Bjorkman

TACOMA - After sweeping aside UC Santa Cruz early Saturday afternoon, the Pacific Lutheran volleyball team dropped a 3-1 decision to tournament host Puget Sound and ended up with three wins and one loss at the Puget Sound Premier Tournament.

The Lutes, ranked No. 25 in the American Volleyball Coaches Division III preaseason national poll, took a 25-22, 25-23, 25-22 win over UC Santa Cruz before losing 21-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-18 to Puget Sound. The Loggers finished the tournament with a 4-0 record.

PLU 3, UCSC 0

The Lutes had to rally from a deficit in all three sets. Both teams played excellent offense in the first set as the Lutes hit .300 and the Banana Slugs .243, but after that both teams struggled to get their offenses in gear. Pacific Lutheran finished with a .073 team attack percentage comared to .062 for UCSC.

Allison Wood led the Lutes with 11 kills and she also contributed 10 digs, one solo block and one block assist. Haley Urdahl had eight kills and 10 digs, Samantha North contributed 25 assists and 10 digs, Bethany Huston had five block assists and Blair Bjorkman added 22 digs and four service aces.

Puget Sound 3, PLU 1

The Lutes jumped out to a 1-0 lead behind the play of Huston, who had five kills in seven attack attempts. With the score tied at 7-7, Huston put away a kill, and PLU never again trailed. Puget Sound pulled within a point on three occasions, the latest at 22-21, but the Lutes closed with the final four points to secure the first set.

PLU seemed the have the second set in hand, racing to an 18-10 lead before the Loggers took the momentum away by scoring 10 of the next 11 points to gain a 20-19 lead, their first of the set. The Lutes contributed to the Puget Sound rally, however, with five attack errors. Jackie Harvey had seven of her match-high 20 kills in the second set.

The third set again showed PLU gaining the early lead. Puget Sound tied it on a couple of occasions, but the Lutes took a 19-16 advantage before the Loggers closed it out by scoring nine of the final 11 points.

In the final set, the Lutes led 6-3 early but couldn't stay with the Loggers the rest of the way.

Huston led the Lutes with 11 kills, one solo block and three block assists, followed by Wood and Urdahl with 10 kills apiece. North had 37 assists and 19 digs, while Bjorkman contributed 20 digs and Urdahl and Wood 17 and 15 digs, respectively.

Both North and Huston earned all-tournament honors.

- PLU -