SAN ANTONIO -- Cal Lutheran erased a 2-0 deficit and come back to win 3-2 (22-25, 19-25, 25-18,25-15, 15-13) against Hardin-Simmons in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
It all came down to the fifth and final set at Sams Gymnasium on the campus of Trinity (Texas) where the Regals pulled off a come-from-behind thriller by the lowest margin possible. The squads battled to the bitter end when senior Kylie McLogan, who recorded the first kill of the night, notched three consecutive kills to close out the fifth set on assists from Jackie Russell, and clinch the match for CLU. Both teams held leads during the final game, but down by a pair, Lauren Rohach got a kill and a HSU error evened the score, setting up the dramatic finish on a pair of serves from Allie Eason.
Starting off the third set with an 8-2 advantage, helped the Regals push that gap to 16-9 before they went on to win 25-18 when Caitlin Fransen tallied the final kill of the game to cut the set deficit in half. As a unit CLU hit at a .424 clip, after struggling offensively in the first two games.
In the fourth, the Regals again got out to a quick lead and went up by seven points at 10-3 and as many as nine at 14-8. They held the Cowgirls to a negative hitting percentage at -.045 as they cruised to the 25-15 win that included kills from Pua Mo’okini-Oliveira and Eason before Mo’okini-Oliveira placed a service ace to end the set.
The decisive match saw CLU hit .259 as a team with 10 kills and just three errors. Hardin-Simmons used nine kills to stay in the game and hit .167, but the will was on the side of the Regals tonight.
Overall, McLogan led all players with 18 kills, notching a double-double with 17 digs, adding a service ace and a block assist. Eason was next in line with 14 kills and Mo’okini-Oliveira also hit double figures with 10. Russell handed out 39 assists and Jena Chavez contributed 11. Mo’okini-Oliveira, Tamagni and Peters had a pair of aces apiece. Joining McLogan with a team-leading 17 digs was libero Nicki Tetherow. At the net CLU combined for seven total blocks, paced by Rohach with five block assists.