Wisconsin Wins LMU Invitational

Wisconsin rebounds for a second-place finish in Utah to win the LMU Invitational tournament after beating Tulane and Loyola Marymount Saturday.

LOS ANGELES – Behind a balanced scoring attack, the 10th-ranked Wisconsin volleyball team edged Loyola Marymount for the championship of the LMU Invitational on Saturday night. The Badgers edged the Lions 21-30, 30-24, 30-23, 27-30, 15-13 to wrap up their nonconference season 8-1.

"We're happy to end the nonconference season with a tournament win on the road," said UW Coach Pete Waite. "I think it will be good as we hit the road in the Big Ten season right away.

Wisconsin had three players in double-digit kills, led by a match-high 22 from Brittney Dolgner. Allison Wack added a career-high 18 kills and Katherine Dykstra chipped in 13 kills for the Badgers. The Lions were led by Heather Hughes with 22 kills.

LMU finished with a 76-70 advantage in kills but the UW hit .264 as a team, compared to .238 for the Lions. The match was also close in digs with Loyola Marymount finishing with a 69-67 edge. Jocelyn Wack led all players with 22 digs while Jackie Simpson added 14 digs and Dolgner had 11 saves.

"We were inconsistent a good part of the match but we saw some great play off the bench from Amanda Berkley and Al Wack," said Waite. "Kat Dykstra came on strong with some big blocks in the fifth game and was really a force at the net tonight.

"I think Jackie did a nice job of running the offense and getting things back on track. She made some pretty spectacular sets at some critical times."

The biggest difference in the stats was in blocks where Wisconsin finished with 15 team blocks while the Lions stuffed the Badgers only four times. Taylor Reineke and Audra Jeffers both totaled seven blocks to lead all players.

"I think that blocking might have made a difference in the match," said Waite. "We got some big block numbers and disrupted a good number of their shots."

Wisconsin also finished with a 7-5 advantage in service aces with two each from Reineke, Jocelyn Wack and Amanda Berkley.

The Badgers broke a 5-5 tie in game one, scoring three straight points, all off their block. But LMU came back, taking advantage of the UW's poor hitting. Wisconsin struggled with its passing the rest of the game and totaled just nine kills, hitting .000. Loyola Marymount pounded down 18 kills, hitting .233, and played tough defense, recording 17 digs. The Lions went up for good at 13-12, off a kill by Day and extended their lead until the final.

Wisconsin turned its offense around in game two, hitting .375 and nearly doubling its kill total to 17 for the period. The Badgers led by four (10-6) but the Lions rallied to tie the game at 16. The two teams battled through 21-21 before a kill from Dykstra put the UW up for good. Wisconsin's four blocks in the period kept Loyola Marymount's hitting percentage down to .171.

The Badgers trailed by five points (14-9) in game three but the outside hitting duo of Dolgner and Allison Wack keyed the comeback. Three kills from Dolgner keyed a 7-2 run by the UW, tying the score at 16. Wisconsin led 19-16 but LMU came back to tie it at 19 and again at 20. Wack had six of her game-high eight kills down the stretch to put the Badgers up 2-1.

After an early 3-3 tie, Wisconsin fell behind 8-5 as LMU hit .400 in game four. The Lions extended their lead to 18-7 before the Badgers rallied to pull within two at 23-21. But the UW couldn't get any closer as several unforced errors hurt the Badgers down the stretch. Wisconsin held off three Loyola Marymount game points but a kill from Christianna Reneau knotted the match at two games apiece.

In the decisive game five, neither team led by more than two points and the score was tied 10 times. The match came down to the last two points with Wisconsin getting kills from Dykstra and Dolgner to break a 13-13 tie and win the game and the match for the Badgers.

The Badgers downed the Green Wave 30-27, 30-22, 30-27 Saturday morning to set up the championship match.


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