Regals Survive and Advance to Second Round of NCAA Tournament

Comeback keeps season alive

Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011 12:00 am

An elated Regals squad following the final kill in Friday's victory.
Credit: Josh Martin (Brooks Institute) Hi-res image

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Cal Lutheran won the final two sets in a 3-2 victory over Whitworth in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. CLU will host Chapman on Saturday, Nov. 12, at 6 p.m. in one of two regional semifinal matches.

Box Score: CLU 3, WU 2 - F
Website: Cal Lutheran Regional

A packed Gilbert Arena witnessed a back-and-forth battle between a pair of regular season conference champion squads. Cal Lutheran cast the deciding blow taking the final set 15-8 connecting for 11 kills and a .647 team hitting percentage to keep its season alive.

After falling behind 2-1 and facing elimination Cal Lutheran led throughout a majority of the final two sets winning both by comfortable margins.  During the CLU comeback the home side hit .353 with 22 kills while the Pirates hit just .103 with 17 kills.

The Regals received double-digit kill performances from Kylie McLogan (19), Rachel Smith (13) and Shannon Pearson (10). This trio supplied 42 of the team's 56 kills on the night.

Setter Jackie Russell dished out a match-high 50 assists in the win. She notched her third 50-plus assist effort in Friday's victory.

Whitworth had its own trio supplying a majority of its offensive attack with Amanda Grumbach pacing the squad with 17 kills and 21 digs. Teammate Kaimi Rocha contributed 16 kills and 19 digs, and Ka'ipo Rocha put down 11 kills.

For the fifth straight NCAA post-season appearance Cal Lutheran has won its first round contest. The Regals will need to get through Chapman on Saturday night to extend their season.

The No. 7 seed Chapman upset No. 2 Southwestern (TX) in four sets in the match prior to Cal Lutheran's victory. The Panthers provided the only upset of the day as Colorado College defeated Hardin-Simmons in four sets and Occidental knocked off Pacific Lutheran in five. No. 1 Colorado College and No. 4 Occidental will open Saturday's action at 3:30 p.m.

Cal Lutheran defeated Chapman in Thousand Oaks in a four-set decision back on Sept. 17. The Regals will hope to repeat that performance tomorrow night in the regional semifinal.