DENTON, Texas - It was looking good early for the Lamar volleyball team on Friday in the first day of play at the North Texas Invitational, but ultimately the Lady Cardinals dropped a pair of 3-1 decisions to UMKC and Houston Baptist at the Mean Green Volleyball Center in Denton, Texas.
In the morning match, the Lady Cardinals hit at .333 clip to take home the opening set of the season 25-18, but UMKC responded by holding the LU offense at bay over the ensuing two sets, 25-12 and 25-17.
It looked like Lamar was going to force a fifth set late in the fourth, taking a 23-20 lead on back-to-back Kangaroo errors, but UMKC rebounded with a 6-1 run to close out the frame and win 26-24.
Sierra Whittaker was the primary source of offense in the meeting, racking up 10 kills to lead all Lady Cards. Both Madi Martin and Christina Hobbs added five kills and five blocks, and Martin also led LU in assists with 20.
Schwartz also added a career-best four service aces.
Lamar returned to the court later in the afternoon in similar fashion to the morning, hitting a blistering .538 in the first set to grab a 25-16 win over HBU, but the joy was short-lived as the Huskies answered quickly with a decisive 25-15 decision in the second.
The third frame would prove to be more dramatic as the two sides battled it out to 18 ties and six lead changes, but after a pair of Martin kills leveled the score at 21-21, the Huskies regained control on a trio of LU errors, eventually taking the set 25-22.
The fourth was tight in the early goings with Lamar trailing 13-12 after a Wendy Krell kill and HBU attack error, but the Huskies regrouped to run away 25-13.
Martin led all Lady Cards with nine kills at a .615 clip to go along with 26 assists. Hobbs was second on the team with eight kills, and Tiffany Hunnicutt added six and a pair of blocks.
Schwartz tallied a match-best 18 digs, and Camp was second with nine.
The Lady Cards will return to action on Saturday morning against Prairie View A&M before taking on North Texas in the nightcap. First serve in the morning is set for 9:30.