The seniors and most likely all of the returning players will long remember the No. 20. Throughout the tournament and in the first set with Point Loma (Calif.), the Lady Flames reached the No. 20 on several occasions but suddenly hit a hurdle they could not overcome.
In the 3-0 (27-25, 25-13, 25-23) loss to Point Loma, the Lady Flames were on an 8-2 run and held a 20-16 lead when the Sea Lions rallied.
Even after turning back the Point Loma surge, Lee held a 24-23 lead when a service sailed into the net. That was a problem that hampered the Lady Flames throughout the event.
The Sea Lions overwhelmed the Lady Flames in the second set, but coach Andrea Hudson's club showed plenty of courage by pushing the No. 1 seed to the limit in the final set.
Again Lee was led by Paula Martins who enjoyed a superb tournament, with 15 kills, eight digs and two blocks. Latrice Johnson followed with seven kills and six digs, while Lauren Williams had six slams and led the team with three blocks.
Camil Martinez contributed a double-double with 29 assists and 14 digs, while Deborah Magalhaes and senior Libby Peigen had nine digs apiece.
Point Loma was led by the outstanding play of Kelli LeClair who had 16 kills and 12 digs. Alyssa Dwyer totaled 14 kills and nine digs, while Delaney McCaney led four Sea Lions in double-digit digs with 13.
The Lady Flames completed another successful season with a 22-11 record and a top four performance in the NCCAA tournament.
Lee advanced to the semifinal round by defeating Bethel (Ind.) University 26-24 after the two teams were deadlocked with McCurry University for the Final Four spot after the trio went 2-2 in pool play, forcing a three-way single-set playoff.
In the victory over Bethel, Paula Martins had seven kills, six digs and two blocks. Lauren Williams added four slams and Blaire Beamer three. Camil Martinez came up with 14 assists and six digs and did Latrice Johnson.
In the opening round of a three-team playoff, the Lady Flames were pitted against McMurry and defeated the Texas squad 25-19. Bethel had a bye in the playoff.
AZUSA PACIFIC 3, LEE 1
Azusa Pacific handed Lee a 3-1 (25-22, 26-28, 22-25, 21-25) defeat in their pool meeting.
Lee jumped out to a quick lead by winning the first set but the Cougars came clawing back and captured the next three very closely played sets.
Martins continued her fine tournament performance with another double-double, 20 kills, 16 digs and three blocks. Lauren Williams followed with 13 kills and three blocks. Latrice Johnson countered with a double-double of her own, 11 kills and 11 digs.
Martinez had 45 assists, nine digs and five kills. Peigen and Magalhaes had 15 digs apiece.
LEE 3, MCMURRY 1
Lee defeated McMurry 3-1 (25-22, 25-23, 20-25, 25-16) on Friday morning in pool play.
Martins had a career high 26 kills and .489 attack percentage to pace Lee to its 22nd win of the year. Martins added a double-double to her outstanding day with 10 digs and a pair of blocks.
Lauren Williams also stepped up at the net to knock down 16 kills and register a .400 attack mark. She also contributed a pair of blocks.
Martinez continued her double-double attack with 50 assists and 12 digs. She also went to the net for two blocks.
Peigen continued to play with a knee injury and was actually forced to leave the match in the final set. She finished with 13 digs and three assists. Erin Hill had three aces and Latrice Johnson countered with four kills and five digs for the winner.
McMurry, the defending NCCAA national champions, got 14 kills from Kasi Conners. She also tallied eight big blocks to help keep the Warhawks in the match. Catherine Heath and Kayla Hines had 10 kills apiece, while Peyton Evans and Kalyn Guthrie combined for 42 assists. Evans also had six blocks.