LA MIRADA, Calif. - Vanguard volleyball rebounded from a rough first day at the 2012 Biola Summer Slam Tournament with two resounding victories over Oregon schools on Friday afternoon. The Lions defeated Concordia (Ore.) and Southern Oregon in similar fashion, dropping the early set and closing out the final three decisively to post duplicate 3-1 victories.

"We started today knowing that we had a lot of ground to make up for after Thursday's performance," Head Coach Eryn Leja said. "The girls acknowledged what they needed to execute on and gave a great effort toward two wins against really solid teams today. I am happy with the response we got from each of the players and these were two team wins that we needed."

Match One

Vanguard overcame a 1-0 deficit on Friday morning to beat Concordia (Ore.) 3-1 in its third match of the 2012 Biola Slam Tournament. Freshman Sarah McKinny (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and sophomore Jessica Neves (Mission Viejo, Calif.) combined for 26 kills while posting five block assists apiece as VU collected its third win of the season by scores of 23-25, 25-19, 25-17 and 25-20.

Set one saw the Lions up 11-4 before a break in focus caused a 21-12 swing in Concordia's favor as the Cavaliers collected the first set of the morning 25-23. The second was tight early, and featured several ties before the Vanguard began to operate on all cylinders, pulling away after a smash from sophomore Kendall Haldi (Fallbrook, Calif.) at 11-10 to take the set 25-19. The Pride did not trail after the first point in the third set and pulled away late in the fourth to secure the 3-1 victory over CU.

Junior Kelly Heenan (Costa Mesa, Calif.), who averages nearly five digs per set this year, bested her average against the Cavaliers, notching 23 digs for the Pride. Sophomore Ashli Bellinger (Chandler, Ariz.) aided the Lions' libero, contributing 12 of her own while registering nine putdowns on offense. In addition, Haldi and junior Grace Konstanzer (Irvine, Calif.) each stepped up with eight kills and three block assists to bolster the Blue and Gold's performance at the net. Running the show was sophomore Carly Maxwell (Bakersfield, Calif.) who posted a season-high 47 assists for VU at the setter spot.

Match Two

Playing in the fourth and final match of the two-day Biola Summer Slam tournament, the Lions conquered not only bumps, bruises and exhaustion, but a talented Southern Oregon volleyball team.

Vanguard shared the wealth offensively with four players boasting ten or more kills in the four set triumph. Konstanzer, Bellinger, Neves and Haldi led the way with 11, 10, 11 and 14 while McKinny chipped in six for VU.

Maxwell facilitated the offense with 41 assists, also tallying three kills and ten digs in a well-rounded effort. Heenan and freshman Carla Cantarella (Huntington Beach, Calif.) made it difficult for the Raiders' attack, garnering 19 and 12 digs, respectively. Bringing her stellar service game, once again, was sophomore Morgan Burt (Bakersfield, Calif.) who collected two service aces in the match and five on the day.

With the pair of wins, the Lions move to .500 at 4-4 overall.

The Blue and Gold will rest a week before returning to tournament play at Concordia's Asics/Wyndham Hotel Labor Day Classic on August 31st. Vanguard is slated to open against Northwestern College at 11:00am.


NOTES: Five Lions posted 19 or more kills in Friday's two matches (McKinny - 20, Konstanzer - 19, Bellinger - 19, Haldi - 22, Neves - 23)