UTRGV falls 3-1 to Grand Canyon in WAC Volleyball Tournament

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LAS CRUCES, N.M. (ValleyCentral) — The Fourth-seeded University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Vaqueros Volleyball team fell to fifth-seeded Grand Canyon University Lopes 1-3 (25-27, 13-25, 25-22, 23-25) in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Tournament Quarterfinals on Thursday at the Pan American Center.

Junior Sarah Cruz led the Vaqueros (17-10) with 17 kills and 10 digs for her 10th double-double. Senior Veronika Jandova recorded nine kills on .316 hitting and three blocks. Sophomore Luisa Silva Dos Santos recorded nine kills and four blocks. Freshman Perris Key recorded eight kills and five digs. Sophomore Ioanna Charitonidi recorded seven kills and eight digs. Freshman Luanna Emiliano dished out 44 assists with nine digs and four kills. Freshman and Edinburg North alum Evana Ramos recorded 21 digs.

Jandova finished her career ranked third in program history in hitting percentage (.281), career blocks per set (0.83), fourth in block assists (264), and seventh in total blocks (309). For the season, Jandova hit .301, the second-highest single-season total in program history.

Cruz finishes this season averaging a program record 4.38 kills per set on 425 total kills, the seventh-highest total.

Emiliano finishes the season averaging 9.97 assists per set, the fourth-highest single-season total in program history, on 1,037 total assists, the seventh-highest total, and second among freshmen. She also ranks third among freshmen in program history with 341 digs and tied for fifth in aces with 37. Ramos finished second among freshmen with 392 digs.

Santos finishes the season averaging 0.98 blocks per set, the eight-best total in program history, on 99 total blocks, which is tied for 10th, including 84 block assists, which is tied for eighth.

Ashley Lifgren led the Lopes (18-6) with 20 kills on .429 hitting. McKenzie Wise recorded 18 kills and 11 digs. Annabelle Kubinski posted 16 kills and three blocks. Klaire Mitchell dished out 56 assists with 15 digs.

The Vaqueros trailed for much of the first set, but down 12-17, a Key kill and four-straight Cruz kills tied the set at 17. Then, down 19-20, a kill and a block by Jandova sparked a 4-0 run to give the Vaqueros the lead. The Vaqueros reached set point at 24-22 before three-straight Lopes points gave the Lopes set point. A Charitonidi kill tied the set at 25 before kills by Kubinski and Wise ended the set.

After dropping the second set, the Vaqueros jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the third on back-to-back Santos blocks. The Lopes scored the next five points to take the lead, but the Vaqueros went back on top on a Cruz kill that made the score 10-9. The Vaqueros led 11-9 on another Cruz kill before the Lopes won three-straight points to take the lead. Then, down 14-16, a pair of Jandova kills helped the Vaqueros score four out of five points to go up 18-17. Later, with the score tied at 21, an error and kills by Charitonidi and Cruz gave the Vaqueros set point. One serve after that, another Charitonidi kill ended the set.

The Lopes led 4-2 to start the fourth set. A Key kill sparked an 8-3 run as the Vaqueros took a 10-7 lead. The Vaqueros pushed their lead to 14-10 on a Jandova kill and 16-11 on another Jandova kill. The Lopes scored the next five points to tie the set before another Jandova kill gave the Vaqueros a 17-16 lead. One serve later, a Cruz kill put the Vaqueros up 18-17. The Lopes won the next three serves to take the lead before an error and an Emiliano ace tied the set at 20. The Vaqueros and Lopes traded points until, with the score tied at 22, the Lopes won back-to-back serves to reach match point. Then, after an error, a Wise kill ended the match.

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