Nov. 18, 2006
DAYTON, Ohio - Saint Louis overcame a near record performance by Yue Liu of Temple as the Billikens beat the Owls, 3-1 (30-26, 30-27, 26-30, 30-19) in the opening semifinal match of the 25th Annual Atlantic 10 Championships on Saturday at the Frericks Center on the campus of the University of Dayton.
Third-seeded SLU (21-8) advance for a chance at their first A-10 title on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. 2006 A-10 East Division Champion TU closed out its season with a 16-14 overall record despite 21 kills and 21 digs from Liu, an A-10 First Team pick.
Liu is the first player in A-10 Championship history to record at least 20 kills and 20 digs in a single match since Nov. 23, 2002. Ruth Lazzari finished with 22 kills and 20 digs in a four-game loss to Temple in the A-10 Finals.
"Temple's passing and serving was impressive and that made it important for our outsides to step up," 2006 A-10 Coach of the Year Anne Kordes of SLU said. "Angela Powers and our seniors had a hug night and helped carry us to the finals."
Powers, an A-10 First Team selection, hit .293 to finish with 23 kills and seven digs to lead the Billikens to a .230 to .153 advantage in hitting percentage overall.
Fellow A-10 First Teamer Tatayana Menshikova had 18 kills while A-10 Rookie of the Year Sammi McCloud added 14 kills, 15 digs and seven blocks. Sarah Entzeroth contributed 15 digs of her own while A-10 All-Rookie selection Whitney Roth had 13 digs and 65 assists as Saint Louis held a 74-52 lead in kills.
Temple supported a solid effort from Yue Liu with another double-double by A-10 Second Team pick Yin Sun Ling. The junior finished with 11 kills, 14 digs and two service aces on the night.
Yan Liu had 16 digs while Maira Mogollon added 37 assists for the Owls.
Both teams played led by as many as three points in an opening game of the match that featured 10 tied scored and two lead changes. Saint Louis prevailed with a 30-26 game one win behind a defense that created a .167 to .120 advantage in hitting percentage. Whitney Behrens led SLU with seven digs while Sarah Entzeroth and Jessica Poorbaugh added six each. Temple countered with five kills and 10 digs by Yue Liu, but could not overcome a Billiken front line that had 5.0 blocks to the Owls' 2.0.
The offense picked up for both sides in game two which resulted in a 30-27 SLU victory. The Billkens hit .362 as a team behind eight kills each from Angela Powers and Tatyana Menshikova. Saint Louis also ran an efficient offense behind 19 assists on their 22 kills from Whitney Roth. The Owls were led again by Yue Liu with six kills and two blocks. Ying Sun Ling hit .333 with four kills and a service ace as Temple tried to keep pace in a game with seven tied scores and two lead changes.
After the intermission, Temple took advantage of Saint Louis errors to take game three 30-27. The Owl defense forced the Billikens into 10 attack errors and rode the play of Yue Liu to six kills and six digs. TU also had three kills on seven swings from Ying Sun Ling with no errors.
The momentum would be short lived for the Owls as they dropped game four by a count of 30-19. Angela Powers paced the Billiken attack with nine kills in the final game alone as SLU hit at a .308 clip. Sammi McCloud added four kills and six digs as Saint Louis took the game by its largest margin of the tournament.