Riverside, CA- In their first match on Thursday, Hope International rallied pasted host La Sierra winning 3-2 (21-25, 25-11, 22-25, 25-17, 15-10). After being down in sets won twice, the Royals pulled off the comeback with a balanced attack of four different players finishing the match in double digit kills. Senior Markisha Richie and Junior Summer Mitchell led the attack with 18 kills and 17 kills respectively.
In the opening moments of the first set, Mitchell carried the Royals (1-1) with four of the five HIU kills. But the Golden Eagles (2-1) took the lead for good after two ties. Sophomore Chelsea Ybanez had the hot hand burying 4 kills on 4 attacks to bring HIU back at the end of the set. But it was not enough as LSU hit .326 in the opening set.
Mitchell finished with 5 kills and Ybanez was next with her four kills.
The second set was all Hope International offensively and defensively as they hit .433 and held La Sierra to a -.077 hitting set. Mitchell, Richie, and Sophomore Rebecca Hicks all produced 5 kills a piece with just one error between the three of them.
The third set thanks to 13 ties and 4 lead changes remained anybody's set until the final four points of the set. Down a point to start the set, the Royals would build a lead they maintained until 7-6. LSU moved back in front until a kill from Richie gave the Royals a 12-11 lead. The two teams were tied at every tie possible from 11-11 to 18-18. The Golden Eagles took the lead at 19-18. A kill from Ybanez made the score 22-21 but LSU scored three of the next four points for the set win.
Hicks had 5 kills while hitting .556 in the third.
The fourth set was a back and forth affair until Royals' Head Coach Jessica Walker made a match changing substitution when she called on Freshman Kaylee Hagey to make her collegiate debut. Hagey responded with 6 kills on her first 6 attacks. A run of four Hagey kills in a five point span gave the Royals a comfortable lead they would not give up the rest of the way.
Hagey finished the set with 7 kills on 8 attacks without an error (.875). Richie added 4 kills without an error.
In the fifth and final set, the Golden Eagles tied the score at 4-4 before consecutive kills from Hagey and Richie move ahead HIU ahead for good.
When the two hour plus match finally ended, the quartet of Richie (18), Mitchell (17), Hicks (11), and Hagey (10) accounted for 56 of the 66 HIU kills for the match.
Sophomore Julianna Hicks passed out a match high 58 assists.
The Royals will immediately return to the La Sierra court for a 3:00 pm match against Montana Western