Lourdes began play at the Rumpke Invitational on Friday afternoon at Alumni Gymnasium in Georgetown, Ky., splitting a pair of matches. The Gray Wolves fell 25-15, 25-18, 25-11 to tournament host, and seventh-ranked Georgetown (Ky.) in the first match of the day before bouncing back with a 26-24, 25-22, 23-25, 26-24 win against Saint Thomas (Fla.) to cap the evening.
"Georgetown is a very good team," head coach Greg Reitz stated. "We made way too many errors against them. However, we were able to see where we need to be to be a nationally-ranked program. They are very consistent. The Saint Thomas match was a great win for us. It was a much better team performance."
The Gray Wolves hung with Georgetown until the midway point of the opening set. With Lourdes leading 8-7, the Tigers went on a 9-1 run to take control. Georgetown committing just one hitting error in the first set, posting a .552 hitting percentage.
"There were moments in the first two sets where we were able to compete with them," Reitz stated.
In set two Lourdes battled back from 16-10 down to close within three, 19-16, only to see the Tigers score the next four points to put the set out of reach. The final set saw Lourdes hit -.182, committing 12 attack errors, while Georgetown slowly pulled away.
Stephanie Richards (Toledo, Ohio/Perrysburg H.S.) led Lourdes with nine kills while Stef Comte (Toledo, Ohio/Notre Dame H.S.) hit .625 with five kills and no errors. Alyssa Pelish (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic H.S.) tallied a team-leading 12 digs defensively.
"We did a good job of serve receiving," Reitz added. "Pelish played a great match at libero."
Georgetown (6-1) hit .414 as a team for the match and was led by Rachel Eubanks and Allyson Wilbourn, each of whom had eight kills. Lindsey Martindale tallied 14 digs for the Tigers.
Trailing 12-9 in the first set against Saint Thomas, the Gray Wolves scored six straight points off of Richards' serve to take the lead. The Bobcats fought back to tie the set at 18 but Lourdes would never surrender the lead before a kill by Lexie Curtis (Toledo, Ohio/Bedford H.S.) ended the set.
Lourdes again pulled away late in the second set. Tied at 18, the Gray Wolves took advantage of a pair of Saint Thomas errors on the way to a three-point lead and eventually built a 2-0 lead in the match.
"We had to battle in every set tonight," Reitz added. "We did a good job of winning a majority of them."
The Gray Wolves held a 14-11 advantage in the third before the Bobcats fought back. An 11-4 run by Saint Thomas extended the match as the Bobcats scored the victory. Set four was tight throughout. Seventeen ties and four lead changes highlighted a set in which the largest lead was two.
Richards and Ali Mass (Walbridge, Ohio/Tiffin Calvert H.S.) both posted double-doubles in the win. Richards had 15 kills and 13 digs while Mass tallied 12 kills and 13 digs. Curtis handed out 47 assists over the four sets while Pelish picked up a team-leading 17 digs. Comte was in on six of Lourdes' 12 blocks in the match.
"It was nice to score from the defense with our blocking against Saint Thomas," Reitz concluded. "We were more effective attacking than we have been and this was against a solid opponent. We were serving inconsistently, but at the same time that was effective as well."
Marisa Markus led Saint Thomas (5-7) with 14 kills while Dana Nowaczyk added 13 kills, 15 assists, and eight digs. Nicole McInnis also had 12 kills and 13 digs for the Bobcats.