Bulldogs Drop Fifth Consecutive To LMU
SPOKANE, Wash. - Savannah Blinn and Jordan Gasser combined for 23 kills for the Gonzaga University women's volleyball team but unfortunately it was not enough as the Bulldogs dropped a 3-0 (25-16, 25-20, 25-21) decision to Loyola Marymount University Thursday in the Martin Centre.
"Every pre-match conversation we have is based on if we take care of our business on our side of the net, we will have a chance to be successful," head coach Dave Gantt said. "We have to do it play-by-play and set after set. If we do that then we are committed to an average level of play. That did not seem to happen tonight."
The defeat was the fifth consecutive for the Bulldogs who are now 9-12 overall and 1-7 in the West Coast Conference. LMU improved to 12-9 and 3-5 in WCC play.
Offensively the Zags struggled from the start. The team hit at a combined .086 line in the first set compared to the Lions .323. Both Blinn and Gasser accounted for four kills on 12 attempts each but could not close the gap.
"Any team is going to establish their middles," Gantt said. "If you look at the number of sets our middles received in the first two sets you will see they received less than 10 percent of the balls. You will also see the outside hitters got more than 90%. That just won't work."
The Lions would have a 6-1 run and a 5-2 run to close the set and take a 1-0 lead.
Gonzaga started off the second set much stronger. Opening with a 5-1 spurt forced LMU to take a timeout but the Lions turned the set around quickly and tied the set 7-7.
The Bulldogs and Lions continued to battle; the set would tie at 12-12 and then LMU held the slight edge at 20-19. A number of attack errors by the GU outside hitters hurt the Zag chance to win the set and LMU capitalized to take the five-point set and the 2-0 lead.
"We work on it every day," Gantt said. "The willingness and risk taking for us to get outside our comfort zones and establishing a new behavior is something we are working on. I think it is a personality thing we have with this team. That is our challenge to start playing for something other than ourselves."
Gonzaga improved its attack in the third but so did Loyola Marymount. Blinn added five kills and Gasser had four but the Zags fell just short. LMU maintained a lead on the Bulldogs the entire set and kept the defense on edge by attacking with their middle blockers and outside hitters.
The Lions prevented any chance of a Bulldog comeback and completed the sweep.
"We have to do a little bit of soul searching," Gantt said. "We need to be introspective. For some reason our chemistry does not respond well after we get punched a little. I am looking at the team now for some players who will punch back."
The Bulldogs will be back in action Saturday when they face No. 23 Pepperdine in the Martin Centre at noon.