Loyola volleyball finished weekend in West Palm Beach with 3-1 mark

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – It was a successful opening weekend for the Loyola New Orleans volleyball team, finishing its four-match weekend with a 3-1 record after a 1-1 day on Saturday. Loyola started with an early morning three-set loss to Morningside (Iowa) before taking down Dakota State (S.D.) in four sets.

The victory over Dakota State marked the second win of the weekend over an opponent receiving votes in the NAIA national poll, too, and now Loyola will turn its attention to next weekend’s San Antonio ShinDig tournament, which is hosted by Our Lady of the Lake University.

Morningside 3, Loyola 0 (25-20, 25-23, 27-25)

Loyola suffered its first loss of the season in the early morning match, though the scoreline was close. Set 1 was marked by two big scoring runs, one by each team. The Mustangs used a 10-0 run to take an early lead at 13-4, but the Wolf Pack clawed back with an eight-point run of their own on Simone Tyson’s serve.

The next two sets could have gone to either team. Set 2 was tied at 21-21 before Morningside took control and went up 2-0 in the match. Set 3 saw the Wolf Pack get out to a hot start, but the team couldn’t close out the win. Brittany Cooper served two aces and Simone Tyson picked up two kills as Loyola jumped out to a 5-0 lead to begin the period. Later, Loyola had two match points at 24-23 and 25-24, but Morningside scored three straight to close out the set and clinch the match.

Loyola 3, Dakota State 1 (25-22, 25-20, 22-25, 25-23)

Loyola was once again hit with a big run from their opponents in the early stages of the match, as Dakota State held a 10-5 advantage in the first set. This time, however, the Wolf Pack were able to fight back and take control late in the period. Trailing 21-18, Loyola rattled off six-straight points to create a match point at 24-21, and Simone Tyson finished off the set with a kill. Emily Sheperis was huge in the opening frame, recording eight kills.

Tyson had two more kills to begin Set 2 as Loyola scored the first three points of the second period. Midway through the set, another big run, nine-straight points on Brittany Cooper’s serve, gave the Wolf Pack the lead for good. Cooper served three aces in a row during the run. Back-to-back kills from Preslie Boswell ended the frame as the Pack went up 2-0 in the match. Boswell would finish the match with eight kills, her highest total of the season so far.

Dakota State pushed the match to four sets after coming back to win Set 3, and they took an early lead in Set 4. Sheperis’ 15th kill of the match then began a 6-0 scoring run for the Pack, putting Loyola ahead 10-6. After that, the team would never trail again in the match, and another six-point run on Tyson’s serve would extend Loyola’s advantage to as many as eight points at 18-10. The Trojans staged a late comeback attempt, cutting the Loyola lead to just one point at 24-23, but Amaya Bazemore ended things with the match-winning kill, her ninth of the match.

Wolf Pack Head Coach Jesse Zabal
“We had a rough start to the morning. We made a good comeback in the first set against Morningside, but we just couldn’t quite get all the gears moving and working in our favor often enough. We had two choices: let the first loss keep us down or allow it to be an opportunity to show up better and stronger. I’m proud to say our group chose the latter. We have been offensively efficient in all of our matches this weekend and Emily Sheperis really showed out today. We upped our service game against Dakota State and overall had a great awareness in a match with a lot of hustle plays. It’s fun to see the box score after these matches this weekend and to see how many of our players are producing for us, both on offense and defense. 3-1 is a great start to the season and we’re looking forward to our next opportunity to compete in San Antonio.”

Pack Facts
Emily Sheperis led the team with 18 kills against Dakota State. It was her second-highest kill total in a Wolf Pack uniform.

Against Morningside, Sheperis had 11 kills in only 14 attempts with no attacking errors, a hitting percentage of .786. It was the most efficient attacking performance of her career.

Sheperis and Simone Tyson each totaled 44 kills through the season’s first four matches. Tyson became one of two players to put up a double-double for the Pack this season, after having 11 kills and 15 digs against Dakota State.

Tyson’s 15 digs led the team against Dakota State, but four different Wolf Pack players contributed double-digit digs, with Brittany Cooper and Simone Moreau each with 13 and Rebecca LaCour with 12.

LaCour reached 24 assists, her highest total as a member of the Wolf Pack. Her double-double was also her first since coming to Loyola.

Gracie Bailey led Loyola in assists in both matches, with 25 against Dakota State and 18 vs. Morningside. With a total of 82 assists thus far this season, she’s averaging over 20 assists per match and almost six per set.

Moreau collected at least 10 digs in every match of the tournament, with 16 coming against Morningside.

You can keep up with the Pack by following Wolf Pack Athletics on Facebook at Facebook.com/LoyolaWolfPack, Twitter and Instagram @LoyolaWolfPack, and by checking out our website at LoyolaWolfPack.com.

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