Volleyball drops three in California

The Mustangs dropped all three matches this weekend in Fullerton, Calif. to Loyola Marymount, Cal State-Fullerton, and UC-Riverside during the Hawthorn Suites Titan Invitational at Titan Gymnasium.

The first loss came when the Mustangs fell 3-2 (30-24, 26-30, 22-30, 30-19, 15-11) in a highly contested match to the Loyola Marymount Lions on Friday. Sophomore outside hitter Caitlin Rainbird led the Mustangs in double-doubles with 16 kills and 22 digs. Sophomore outside hitter Rachel Giubilato followed with 14 kills and 17 digs, while senior middle blocker Kelly Larkan recorded 11 kills and 12 digs. Sophomore setter Madison Hill contributed with 58 assists and 17 digs in the match.

Junior libero Jennette Evanco led the team in digs with 34, tying an SMU record for the most digs ever in a five-game match. Freshman middle blocker Natalie Peters recorded 17 kills and five blocks, while senior middle blocker Ashley Zener had seven kills and four blocks. As a team, the Mustangs totaled 104 blocks for the match.

Hill said that while the team works well together, they are still lacking something for a strong finish.

“We play well as a team, but we have yet to find that final chemistry to win the last game,” Hill said. “We are still lacking something to pull off the win.”

SMU lost its second match of the tournament 3-1 (22-30, 30-21, 30-26, 30-28) to Cal State-Fullerton Saturday. Hill led the team with 48 assists, while Evanco contributed 22 digs. Double-doubles were recorded by both Rainbird, with 18 kills and 15 digs, and Giubilato, with 20 kills and 17 digs.

Peters had 15 kills and six blocks in the loss, while Larkan contributed seven kills and eight digs. Zener tallied five kills and two blocks.

The Mustangs played their final match of the Titan Invitational Saturday against UC-Riverside in which they fell 3-0 (30-25, 30-20, 30-22).

Giubilato recorded her third-straight double-double of the tournament with 11 kills and 12 digs. Rainbird gave eight kills and eight digs, while Larkan had three kills and nine digs. Freshman setter Stefanie Kons contributed with 24 assist in the loss to UCR, while Evanco had 11 digs.

Peters recorded seven kills and three blocks, and was named to the All Tournament Team.

Despite the three losses, Evanco said the team is very capable of winning every game they play; they just need to find a way to do it.

“We’re playing pretty well as a team, but we’re missing something,” Evanco said. “We’re trying to find that missing piece.”

To do so, Evanco said the team will have to practice as if it were game night.

“Practice is going to be pretending we are going into a match,” Evanco said.

The SMU volleyball will take to the court Friday, Sept. 23, when they host Central Florida at 7 p.m. in Moody Coliseum.

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