Contact: Mark Albanese, Director of Sports Communication
TACOMA, Wash. - The Pacific Lutheran University volleyball team looked to be in midseason form on Friday, opening the 2017 season with a pair of three set victories at the Puget Sound Premiere inside the University of Puget Sound's Memorial Gymnasium. The Lutes cruised to a 3-0 (25-18, 25-16, 28-26) win over the University of Saint Thomas to open the day before netting a 3-0 (25-18, 25-17, 25-14) decision over Edgewood College in the nightcap.
"Today was just a great way to start our season," said Head Coach Kevin Aoki. "In the first match to out block a much taller Saint Thomas team was awesome and it was it was great to see all 14 players see action."
The Lutes (2-0) had a sluggish start to the opening set against Saint Thomas, surrendering the opening four points before taking control midway through. A Lauren Wilson kill gave PLU a 10-9 edge and the Lutes never trailed the rest of the set, cruising to the 25-18 win. Pacific Lutheran snagged the opening five points of set two, leading wire-to-wire in the 25-16 victory.
Neither team was able to earn separation in the third set before a Tommie (0-1) attack error and a Mackenzie Harris kill gave the Lutes the 28-26 victory to wrap up the match in three sets.
Chloe Epker led the Lutes offensive attack with 11 kills along with 13 digs. Danielle Skibiel added eight kills along with six blocks while Wilson collected seven kills in her collegiate debut. Kiana Calles netted 33 assists while Caylie Shiramizu pace the team with 17 digs.
Against Edgewood (0-2), the Lutes tallied seven of the opening nine points in the opening set and kept the Eagles at arm's length the rest of the set in the 25-18 win. PLU came away with the 25-17 win in set two before rallying for the win in the third. Edgewood seized a 10-6 lead on a PLU attack error and led by two before the Lutes rattled off nine in a row to seize the 18-11 edge. PLU shut the door on the Eagles with seven of the final nine points, grabbing the 25-14 win for the Lutes' second three-set sweep of the tournament.
Epker again paced the attack with eight kills while Skibiel and Wilson both added seven. Calles had a match-high 26 assists with Shiramizu accruing 16 digs.
"We need to continue to improve as a team and we look forward to doing so against a pair of good teams."
The Lutes are back on the court tomorrow at 11 a.m., facing College of Saint Benedict before closing the tournament at 3 p.m. against Clarkson University.