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Texas Lutheran breaks long streak against Southwestern, improves tourney chances

Photo by Dustin Wyatt.
Photo by Dustin Wyatt.
SEGUIN, Texas -- On Senior Night in TLU's Memorial Gymnasium, the Texas Lutheran Bulldogs ended a 24-match losing skid to the Southwestern Pirates and moved into a tie for fifth place in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Women's Volleyball standings with a 20-25, 25-17, 25-21, 27-25 win Thursday.
 
TLU's victory over the Pirates marked the Bulldogs' first win in the series since Sept. 28, 2002, when TLU won in three sets in a tournament in Atlanta.
 
The win was TLU's first victory in SCAC play against Southwestern. TLU joined the SCAC in the fall of 2013. Southwestern had won 13 straight regular-season conference matches against TLU.
 
The Bulldogs improved to 12-11 overall and to 5-5 in the SCAC.
 
TLU is in a fifth-place tie with Centenary and now a half-game ahead of University of Dallas in the race for the SCAC Tournament, which TLU hosts Nov. 8-10. Only the top six teams in the SCAC advance to the conference tournament.
 
Southwestern dropped to 13-9 overall and to 6-4 in the SCAC. The Pirates are now just a half-game ahead of Austin College for third place and only a full game ahead of Centenary and TLU.
 
TLU rallied in the fourth set from deficits of 19-16 and 24-22. With Southwestern a point from forcing a fifth set, the Bulldogs took advantage of two Southwestern hitting errors and a Jaci Chambers (Baytown/Goose Creek Memorial) kill to take a 25-24 lead.
 
Another Southwestern attack error gave TLU its second match point at 26-25. TLU middle blocker Peyton Sulak (Needville/Needville) put away an attack for the match-winning point.
 
Senior outside/right-side hitter Bryten Mitchan (San Antonio/Highlands) led TLU with nine kills and eight blocks. Fellow senior Kelsi Menn (San Antonio/Roosevelt) added eight kills and seven blocks.
 
Sulak collected seven kills and three blocks, and Chambers recorded 28 digs and 21 assists. Lexi Morris (Victoria/Victoria West) contributed 20 digs.
 
TLU tallied 11 blocks and held Southwestern to a hitting percentage of .076. Southwestern was hurt by 13 service errors. Each team had six aces.
 
The Bulldogs take a break from SCAC action this weekend with two matches Saturday in Longview, Texas - against Belhaven (Miss.) and LeTourneau.