Contact: Mark Albanese, Director of Sports Communication
TACOMA, Wash. - The Pacific Lutheran University volleyball team ran roughshod over a pair of opponents for the second consecutive day at the Puget Sound Premiere, closing the tournament held at the University of Puget Sound's Memorial Gymnasium undefeated. The Lutes disposed of College of Saint Benedict 3-1 (25-22, 19-25, 25-13, 25-20) to open the day before besting Clarkson University 3-1 (25-21, 18-25, 29-27, 25-17) in the nightcap.
"We couldn't have asked for a better performance and just a fantastic start to our season," said Head Coach Kevin Aoki.
The Lutes (4-0) led wire-to-wire in the opening set against Saint Benedict (0-3), securing five of the first six points. PLU's lead ballooned to 19-10 before the Blazers battled back, pulling within two at 24-22 before an attack error gave the Lutes the 25-22 win in set one. St. Benedict stole the second set 25-19 but its was all Lutes after that with PLU taking set three 25-13 before wrapping up the match with a 25-20 decision in the fourth.
Chloe Epker notched a double-double with 14 kills and 14 digs while Isabella Zubrod and Mackenzie Harris chipped in 11 kills and 10 kills, respectively. Kiana Calles tallied a match-high 47 assists along with three service aces while Caylie Shiramizu had a team-high 15 digs.
Against Clarkson (2-2), the Lutes dropped the opening point before scoring eight of the next nine. PLU maintained the lead the rest of the set, earning the 25-21 win. The Golden Knights leveled the match with a 25-18 victory in the second set. The Lutes were up against the ropes in the third set, trailing 24-20 before ripping off four straight points to tie the game. The two teams traded points until a Danielle Skibiel kill and a Clarkson attack error gave the Lutes the 29-27 win. PLU wrapped up the match in the fourth, scoring nine of the final 10 points to emerge with the 25-17 victory to finish the weekend undefeated.
Zubrod finished with a team-high 15 kills while Epker tallied 13 kills and 17 digs. Calles had 45 assists and 14 digs while Mackenzie Harris was a force at the net with six blocks. Defensively, Shiramizu again led the Lutes with 24 digs. Calles finished the two-day Puget Sound Premiere as the Most Outstanding Player while Harris and Shiramizu both earned a spot on the all-tournament team.
The Lutes are back in action on Friday, competing at the Cal Lu Fornia Invitational in Thousand Oaks, California. PLU will open against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges at 12:30 p.m. before closing the day with a 3 p.m. showdown with Whittier College.
"We're looking forward to the Cal Lu tourney where we will play a couple of top 10 teams and also get to watch our football team play."