Playing its final non-conference match of the season, Lourdes rallied from two sets down to force a fifth set before succumbing to Indiana-South Bend 25-23, 25-22, 19-25, 24-26, 15-13 on Saturday at the Student Activities Center in South Bend, Ind.
“It was a tough match for us,” head coach Greg Reitz said afterwards. “We were a bit shaken by the momentum of the game. We stayed together well, but things were just a bit off. We need to figure some things out to make a strong push for the end of the season.”
The Gray Wolves fell behind 15-11 in the opening set before battling back to pull even at 23. The Titans used a kill and a handling error by Lourdes to prevent the visitors from finishing the comeback, taking the opening set. The Gray Wolves committed just four attack errors and hit .294, but were unable to pull out the win.
In set two, there were 11 ties and seven lead changes before the Titans pulled in front for good 17-16 as part of a 4-0 run. Indiana-South Bend put down 17 kills in the frame while limiting Lourdes to just 11 in building the 2-0 advantage in the match.
Lourdes never trailed in the third, on the way to extending the match. The hosts managed just nine kills in the frame, and a 6-2 run midway through opened up the set as the Gray Wolves built a 16-10 lead.
Trailing 15-10 in the fourth, Lourdes rallied with eight of the next nine points to pull in front 18-17, and would not allow Indiana-South Bend to pull back in front, despite needing extra points to force the fifth set. Back-to-back kills by Monique Oliveira (Rio Branco, Brazil/Americo Rene Giannetti H.S.) and Tylar Roberson (Elkhart, Ind./Central H.S.) finished off the set.
In the final set, Lourdes led 8-6 as the two teams switched sides, but an 8-1 run by the Titans followed. Despite Lourdes fighting off four match points, the Gray Wolves were unable to complete the comeback.
Roberson led Lourdes with 19 match-high kills and 12 digs while Oliveira added 18 kills and match-high 24 digs. Carol Goncalves (Brazilia, Brazil/Sagrado Corcacao de Maria H.S.) handed out 42 assists and tallied 12 digs as the Gray Wolf offense hit just .136 for the match.
Niki Polce (New Boston, Mich./Huron H.S.) tallied 18 digs while Angelica Dippold (Louisville, Ky./Mercy Academy) registered 14 more. Alli Plasencio (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic H.S.) added 12 more digs as Lourdes finished with a 104-94 advantage in that category.
Sarah Allison led Indiana-South Bend (10-7) with 13 kills and 16 digs while McKenzie Powell had 48 assists and 16 digs. Sydney Lubinski recorded 10 kills and nine blocks for the Titans.
Lourdes (16-4) returns home on Wednesday evening to host Madonna. First serve is set for 7 p.m. inside the Russell J. Ebeid Recreation Center.