(Photo by Anthony Mazur)
SEGUIN, Texas – The University of Dallas volleyball team dropped a pair of conference games in the first Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Cross-Divisional of the year. The Crusaders dropped 3-0 matches to No. 5 Southwestern University and host school Texas Lutheran University on Saturday. Dallas moved to 5-12 overall and has lost five straight, with all of them counting during SCAC play.
Dallas could not keep pace with the fifth-ranked Pirates in the first match of the tournament. The Crusaders fell 25-6, 25-14, and 25-14, as SU went to 15-2 overall and 3-1 in conference at that time.
After not reaching double-digits in the first set, Dallas competed in the early part of the second. With Elizabeth Smith (Broken Arrow, Okla.) on serve to start the frame, a pair of attack errors by Southwestern gave Dallas a two-point lead. The Pirates got on the board thanks to a UD miscue, but then Theresa Schramm (Plymouth, Wis.) countered with a kill to make it 3-1. After a trio of ties (5-5, 6-6, 9-9), Southwestern gained the lead with seven of the next eight pointes earned.
A ball handling error gave the Crusaders the first point in the third set, but the top-five team in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) rallied ahead for a triumph in straight sets.
Samantha Garza (Richmond, Texas) led the team with four kills. Diana Hassink (Tulsa, Okla.) had a team-high 11 digs, while Smith contributed nine to go with eight assists. The Pirates compiled 39 kills with Brittany Hohlt leading the squad with nine. A trio of players contributed six, and Megan Grimes added 33 assists.
UD battled the Bulldogs in the nightcap, particularly in the third set that went extra points, but could not avoid its second straight set sweep in the tournament. Texas Lutheran claimed the first set 25-17 and never trailed during that span.
In the middle set, the teams exchanged points until the home squad ballooned its margin to as many as six points on a couple of occasions. Down 16-10, Dallas scored three straight points that involved a service error, kill by Kennedy Bradley (Groesbeck, Texas), and attack error. TLU's Hannah Mikelonis, who boasted a game-high 15 kills, put down one of them on the next serve to halt the momentum and sparked a string of four straight points and eventually led to the Black and Gold up 2-0 overall.
A kill in the third set by Garza came on the first serve, before the Bulldogs answered with the next three. Sarah Hughes (Fair Oaks, Calif.) and Smith went back-to-back on kills and Mary Goodykoontz (Chandler, Ariz.) sent in a service ace to pendulum the momentum back to UD. The resulted 7-2 run for the Crusaders opened an 8-5 advantage. However, the Bulldogs countered with seven points in a row to nip a four-point deficit at the time (10-6) with Jaci Chambers on serve. The Bulldogs amassed a trio of kills to start the span and had five altogether.
Dallas closed the gap with ties at 18, 19, and 20 points. Rylee Davis (Lampasas, Texas) knocked down a kill to make it 20-20 and then some hitting errors by the opposition gave UD a 22-20 edge. Three times after the squads traded a pair of points until it was 24-all. Garza put the Crusaders in front on a kill, but three points followed for TLU to seal the win on its home floor.
Hughes produced six kills and added 12 digs. She joined Hassink as the only other Dallas player in double figures for digs with 21, which counted as a season-best in league play. Smith led the team with 11 assists and Goodykoontz contributed seven. As a whole, UD combined for seven blocks with Bradley, Schramm, and Davis having multiples with two apiece. Davis did leaped for a solo block.
Behind Mikelonis with a double-digit performance in kills was Makenzie Griffin with 13. Mikelonis displayed a double-double with 15 kills and 21 digs, which tied a game-high. The team finished with 45 kills and posted 18 in the last frame. Kionasina Nu'U and Kelly Jurden contributed 20 and 16 assists, respectively. The Bulldogs improved to 9-7 and 3-2 in conference after their second win of the day.
Dallas concludes the cross-divisional tomorrow with Schreiner University at 12 p.m. and No. 4 Trinity University at 4 p.m.