THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - California Lutheran jumped out to an early lead to defeat Southwestern in the opening round of the NCAA National Tournament Friday evening.
CLU came out strong and took an early lead in the first set by attacking strong and holding the Pirates' attack from getting going. Cal Lutheran posted a .353 attack percentage in set one while Southwestern hit .000 for a 25-16 loss.
Set two was the same story as Cal Lutheran got stronger offensive and SU continued to struggle to find their rhythm. CLU posted a hitting percentage of .464 while the Pirates fell to -.056 as Cal Lutheran won 25-13.
Southwestern regrouped and pulled out a big set three win as their defense stepped it up a notch and kept Cal Lutheran to a .167 attack percentage. With Southwestern hitting .243 the Pirates won the third set 25-22 to extend the game.
In an extremely tight fourth set, CLU got the bounces they needed to close out the match with a 25-18 set four win.
Rachel Thibodeau led the attack for SU with 14 kills and was the only Pirates in double figures. CLU's Shannon Pearson posted a game high 16 kills and .448 attack percentage. Defensively, Southwestern was led by Kaitlyn Foster's 12 digs with Meredith Rollins and Thibodeau adding in 10 each. CLU's Rachel Smith led all defenders with 29 digs. Lorin Froetschel led SU and all blockers with five total blocks.
The Pirates end their season at 24-12 and return all but two players, Thibodeau and Rachel Sellari.