LOS ANGELES — Santa Clara volleyball played two strong sets on Saturday afternoon before Loyola Marymount flipped the script at Gersten Pavilion. The Lions rallied to win the last three sets and claim a 22-25, 20-25, 25-11, 25-17, 15-9 win in West Coast Conference play.
Sara Kovac led all players with 25 kills on .455 hitting for the Lions (17-6, 7-5 WCC), while Emma Johnson added 12 kills on .667 hitting. Tess Reid notched a match-best 52 assists and Kekai Whitford posted a match-best 17 digs.
Michelle Shaffer led the Broncos (6-8, 1-11) with 17 kills on .342 hitting. Liliana Light led the Broncos with 16 assists and Brittany Gillingham had a career-high 14 assists. Alex Anthony had a career-best seven kills.
Facing a must-win set three, the Lions went in front 6-2 and used a 12-1 run to build a 19-6 lead. LMU found its offensive form, hitting .550 in the third frame after hitting .237 in the first and .130 in the second.
Kovac notched at least four kills in all five sets, including eight on 11 attempts in the fourth set. LMU once again went in front 6-2 and led by at least three on its way to tying up the match.
The Lions produced another strong start in the fifth set, winning six straight points to take an 8-2 lead. Kovac had the team's match-clinching kill and the final three kills of the afternoon.
Santa Clara trailed by as many as five points in the first set before rallying to grab the early lead. Trailing 22-21, the Broncos rattled off four straight points, including a solo block from Shaffer and the set-clinching kill from Anna McCreadie.
Shaffer helped the Broncos extend their match lead to 2-0 with six kills in the second set. She had two straight kills at the end of a 5-0 run to give Santa Clara an 8-3 advantage. The Broncos maintained at least a three-point gap the rest of the way.
Loyola Marymount swept the season series after defeating Santa Clara in three sets on Sept. 27. This marks the first season since 2012 that the Broncos and Lions did not split the season series.
The Broncos host Portland on Thursday at 7 p.m. and Gonzaga on Saturday at 1 p.m.
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