CLU Ends Tournament with Saturday Split

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Trailing UC Santa Cruz by two sets, Cal Lutheran battled back to take the final three sets to defeat the visiting Banana Slugs 3-2 in the first of two games scheduled to take place throughout final day of the 2011 Posada Royale Invitational.

Box Score: CLU 3, UCSC 2 - F
Box Score: SU 3, CLU 1 - F

Awaiting No. 10 Cal Lutheran in the second half of Saturday's schedule was another nationally-ranked opponent that also possessed a matching 3-0 tournament record, No. 14 Southwestern (TX).

No. 10 Cal Lutheran 3, UCSC 2 - F
In their first match of the day, the Regals faced an early 2-0 deficit after dropping their opening sets to UC Santa Cruz by a scores of 27-25 and 25-23.

Frustrated by their inaugural efforts, Cal Lutheran took the floor in the third set and quickly established itself on offense much to the delight of the partisan crowd in attendance.

Led by Casy McWhirk and her 16 kills, Cal Lutheran ended up taking the third by a comfortable 25-19 margin, stealing momentum from a UC Santa Cruz team looking to end its weekend with an unblemished 4-0 tournament record.

With the lead jumping from one side to the other throughout opening moments of the fourth set, UC Santa Cruz started to slowly pull away from the Regals as the action progressed throughout the set, forcing CLU head coach Kellee Roesel to call a time out in an effort to prevent UCSC from creating too large a lead.

Exiting that break trailing 18-16, a combination of timely blocks by Cal Lutheran's front-line and services aces earned by Shannon Pearson helped the Regals not only erase that Banana Slug advantage, but construct a lead of their own en route to a 26-24 fourth set victory.

With UC Santa Cruz still trying to adjust to its sudden change of fortune, Cal Lutheran continued to play in an aggressive manner throughout the deciding set in an attempt to successfully complete its comeback effort.

Leading the way with 16, 15, and 13 kills respectively for Cal Lutheran, the trio of McWhirk, Pearson, and Rachel Smith helped turn CLU's early-match misfortune into a gutsy 25-27, 23-25, 25-19, 26-24, 15-13 come-from-behind victory.

No. 14 Southwestern 3, No. 10 Cal Lutheran 1 - F
After Southwestern took an early 1-0 lead after securing the first set by a 25-21 margin, Cal Lutheran responded immediately by winning the following set 25-18.

Unfortunately for Cal Lutheran, that second set was the only one that the team would end up winning as Southwestern would hand the host school its second loss of the season by taking the next two sets by respective scores of 25-19 and 25-22.

Recording her second double-double of the afternoon, McWhirk finished the match with 24 digs and 12 kills. Kylie McLogan also recorded a double-double of her own as the freshman outside hitter recorded 16 kills and 12 digs in her team's final contest of the weekend.

Cal Lutheran will return to action this Tuesday, September 13 when the team travels to Santa Barbara to face Westmont. That match will begin at 7:00 p.m.