In yet another five-set thriller Saturday night at the Connolly Center, the Seattle University volleyball team came together when it counted most, holding off a Louisiana Tech for a 3-2 victory (25-23, 25-17, 23-25, 21-25, 15-10) over the Lady Techsters.
Kaytlyn Dill (Bothell, Wash.) paced the Redhawks with 20 kills, plus she earned three service aces, seven digs, and two block assists. Karli Pedone (Granite Bay, Calif.) once again came off the bench and contributed 11 kills, while Sarah Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) contributed eight kills, two service aces, and nine digs. Setter Jacquie Brice (Fullerton, Calif.) notched her seventh double-double of the season with 46 assists and 11 digs, plus she led the team with four service aces.
"I wanted the team to play together, celebrate, enjoy it (Senior Night), and get the win," Dill said. "We said before the fifth set that we needed to stay in our system and not get frazzled, to stay focused on the task at hand. When we stick to our systems, we win."
In the fifth set, kills by Karina Miastkowska (Northbrook, Ill.) and Dill, along with a service ace from Lani Beadle (Seattle, Wash.), gave Seattle U an early 3-1 lead, but Louisiana Tech scored four straight points, including a kill and a solo block from Caitlin Germany, to pull ahead, 6-4. The Redhawks answered with three straight points before the two teams started trading points.
With Louisiana Tech ahead, 9-8, the Redhawks scored four unanswered points, with service aces by Brice sandwiched around a kill from Miastkowska. A kill by Dill, a block from Dill, Miastkowska, and Andi Lowrance (Phoenix, Ariz.), and a kill by Lowrance ended the set and the match in the Redhawks' favor, keeping alive Seattle U's chance at qualifying for the WAC Tournament.
The first set showed how tight the match would be, as there were nine ties and six lead changes in the opening set. Down 12-11, Seattle U went on an 8-2 scoring run, led by three kills and a service ace from Dill as well as two kills by Allison Farley (Happy Valley, Ore.). Louisiana Tech fought back, pulling to within one at 24-23 on a block by Maria Coelho and Caitlin Germany, but a Lady Techster service error ended the set in the Redhawks' favor.
Two kills by Dill and a block from Farley and Miastkowska keyed a 4-0 Redhawk run at the start of the second set, but the Lady Techsters once again kept the set close. Ahead by just one at 15-14 after Louisiana Tech's Clara Vido earned a kill, Seattle U closed out the second set on a 10-3 scoring run, capped by kills from Kelly Biette (Brighton, Colo.) and Dill.
Louisiana Tech (3-26, 0-17 WAC) started its comeback in the third set, rallying from a 15-10 deficit at the media timeout. A 6-1 Lady Techster scoring run pulled the set into a 16-16 tie, and Louisiana Tech would take its first lead of the set at 20-19 thanks to a block by Coelho and Germany. A kill by Vido set up set point at 24-21, but a kill by Miastkowska and a Louisiana Tech attack error kept the set going before a kill by Dalane Guidry extended the match into the fourth set.
Jaeckel earned a kill and two service aces to pull Seattle U out to a 5-1 lead in the fourth set, and back-to-back kills by Dill extended the Redhawk lead to 11-3. The Lady Techsters did not give up, going on a 9-2 scoring run, paced by two service aces and a block assist from Coelho, to pull to within one at 13-12. After trading points with Seattle U, Louisiana Tech went on an 8-2 scoring run to end the fourth set, with Guidry earning four kills and Vido closing out the set with a kill of her own.
Vido led the Lady Techsters with 17 kills, plus she was one of three players to collect two service aces for Louisiana Tech. Germany finished with 12 kills and six total blocks, Guidry contributed 11 kills and four block assists, and Bridget Benditz came off the bench and added 10 kills and nine digs. Coelho accumulated 51 assists, two service aces, and six total blocks, and libero Stephany Salas led all players with 26 digs, plus she also earned two service aces.
For Seattle U, Miastkowska and Farley picked up seven kills and three total blocks apiece. Defensively, Beadle led the Redhawks with 18 digs, with McKenzie Daniels (Edmonds, Wash.) contributing 17 digs to the winning effort. For the second straight match, Seattle U's service game was solid, as the Redhawks finished with 11 service aces, a stat that helped the home team as Louisiana Tech earned more kills (61-57) and more blocks (11-7) in the match.
Before the match, Beadle, Biette, Dill, and Miastkowska were recognized in Senior Night ceremonies for their contributions to the Seattle U volleyball program.
With UT Arlington's 3-1 loss to Idaho Saturday night, the Redhawks pulled into a tie with the Mavericks for eighth place in the WAC standings with identical 4-13 league marks. A tiebreaker would favor UT Arlington, as the Mavericks defeated New Mexico State earlier this season, while Seattle U's best conference win standings-wise came against Denver, which cannot pass the Aggies in the final standings. Therefore, the Redhawks must defeat the Pioneers in Denver and Louisiana Tech must go on the road and defeat UT Arlington next Thursday for Seattle U to earn the eighth and final spot in the WAC Tournament.
Seattle University (9-18, 4-13 WAC) travels to Denver, Colo., to face the University of Denver Pioneers Thursday, Nov. 15, starting at 7 p.m. local time (6 p.m. Pacific time). The Redhawks earned a come-from-behind 3-2 win over Denver earlier this season in Seattle.