ST. GEORGE, Utah --- California Baptist University rolled into Saturday's road PacWest Conference match, with plenty of momentum, evidenced by its seven victories in its past eight matches.
The Lancers looked to take hold of sole possession of second place in the PacWest with a win at Dixie State Saturday. After dropping the first set, CBU bounced back and took the next two, but could not close it out in a five-set loss to Dixie State (26-24, 14-25, 12-25, 25-23, 19-17).
The Lancers drop to 16-8 overall, 13-3 in the PacWest, with the loss, while the Red Storm improve to 14-8 on the season, 11-5 in conference. Point Loma, which was defeated by CBU on Tuesday, picked up a win Saturday to tie the Lancers in the conference standings at 20-6, 13-3.
"It was one of those matches where we won in the stats but they won the match," said head coach Branden Higa.
CBU held a 20-to-15 blocking advantage over Dixie State, led by the efforts of Malika O'Brien, who tallied 14 block assists and one solo effort.
Three Lancers picked up kills in double digits, led by Kim McCalmont with a game-high 18 kills. Her 11 digs completed the double-double.
CBU held a 61 side-out percentage (59 of 96), while Dixie State was 52 percent (60 of 114) in the category. A theme in each of the Lancers' game losses was their low hitting percentages in the first (.175), fourth (.098), and fifth games (.042), compared to the second (.391) and third (.286).
"Unfortunately, the key moments went their way tonight," said Higa. "I thought at the end of the 4th we came charging back, but they held us off. In the fifth, we both had chances at match point, but they came out on top."
After two road matches, CBU returns home to host a string of PacWest matches, starting with powerhouse BYU-Hawaii, which sits atop the conference standings at 20-1, 15-1, on Friday at 7 p.m.