Sept. 14, 2013
SAN DIEGO (SMU) - The Mustangs went to a fifth set for the third straight match, but this time it was SMU celebrating the final point. Maddie Lozano dumped the ball at the net into the back right corner to give the Mustangs a 15-12 win in the fifth set for the 3-2 victory (25-21, 20-25, 26-24, 19-25, 15-12).
"One thing about this young team, and I will never use youth as an excuse, but we will fight you until the very end," head coach Lisa Seifert said. "The way we have had bodies flying all over the floor this weekend, grinding out every point, we will never stop fighting."
SMU (6-4) needed every bit of that fight against Northeastern (4-6). The Mustangs trailed early in the fifth set, and once they took the lead, they watched two-point advantages get erased twice. The third time, SMU's senior middle blocker made sure the Mustangs wouldn't get on the bus disappointed for a third time in her home state.
Lozano finished the match with eight kills and seven blocks. Caroline Young posted her first double-double of the season with 20 kills and 13 digs, both season highs, and was named to the Aztec Invitational All-Tournament team. Abbey Bybel scored 10 kills with 11 digs for her second double-double of the season, and Dana Edwards recorded 50 assists and 11 digs in place of starting setter Avery Acker. Freshman Morgan Heise had 16 digs in the win.
The Mustangs held on at the end of the third set, winning the dogfight, 26-24, to take a 2-1 lead. SMU led by four early in the set, 8-4, and again late in the set, 19-15, but the Huskies rallied to take a 23-22 lead. After Bula blasted a kill, Heise served an ace to give the Mustangs the lead back, 24-23. Northeastern killed off the first set point, but Young scored a kill, and Edwards shoved one over instead of setting the attackers for the final points of the set.
The Huskies sent the match to a fifth set with a 25-19 win in the fourth. SMU was just 10 points away from winning the match with a three-point lead, 15-12, but Northeastern scored four straight for a 16-15 lead. The Mustangs were held to just four points down the stretch, unable to keep the match from going an extra set.
Northeastern evened the match with a 25-20 win in the second set, scoring five straight midway through the set to take a 17-12 lead. SMU stopped the rally with a kill from Bula, but the damage was done. The Huskies kept the advantage to tie the match. Bula led the SMU offense with four kills, but the defense was limited to just one block and 11 digs.
The Mustangs went down 5-1 early in the first set, and trailed by five after the first 15 points, but SMU scored five straight to even the score, 10-10. SMU took its first lead of the set when Bybel scored a kill for a 17-16 lead, and the Mustangs never scored again. SMU stretched the lead to four, 20-16, and scored back-to-back points to get to 25 and hold off the Northeastern charge for the 25-21 win. Young had five kills in the set, and three different Mustangs had four digs each.
SMU will compete in the College of Charleston Invite next weekend, facing the host Cougars Friday at 6 p.m. CT. The Mustangs will also face Ball State and Alabama A&M in the tournament on Saturday.