`Dogs Impressive in Sweep Over Roadrunners
    Taylor Horton was impressive in her Bulldog debut.
    Taylor Horton was impressive in her Bulldog debut.

    Aug. 28, 2009

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    FRESNO, Calif. - The Fresno State volleyball team won its home opener by defeating Cal State Bakersfield 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 27-25) on Friday night in the Fresno State Invitational. Brianna Clarke led the Bulldogs with eight kills and a .533 hitting percentage. It was the first time since 1979 that the `Dogs have swept CSUB. Fresno State takes on Green Bay at 12 p.m. on Saturday and concludes the tournament by taking on Pacific at 7 p.m.

    Sophomore Baylee Platt and freshman Taylor Horton also contributed eight kills a piece in the win. Senior setters Allanah Munson and Lisa Gera split the assists with 16 and 17 each, respectively.

    Kelly Mason and Meghan Moss each had nine digs and Clarke also led the team with four total blocks.

    As a team, the Bulldogs beat CSUB in nearly every offensive category as they hit .300 as a team with 38 assists, 15.0 total blocks and 41 kills.

    "It feels so good to start 1-0," said Horton. "We had positive energy and we stayed united and disciplined. This was the best atmosphere that I have ever been in as a player or a fan."

    Cal State Bakersfield started the match with the lead in the first set, but five-straight attack errors by the Roadrunners gave the `Dogs the lead at 8-5.

    Fresno State took advantage of the visitor's mistakes as they would stretch the lead to as many as five early (13-8) before winning the set 25-17. Clarke had four of her kills in set one.

    Set two was a battle through the first 16 points as everything was tied up. The Bulldogs then took a 13-10 lead off of a Moss service ace. While CSUB fought to stay in the set, the `Dogs held on with four great serves by Moss to maintain possession and pulled away for a 25-19 victory.

    Looking for the sweep on opening night, set three looked much like set two with points rallying between the two teams until the end. The Bulldogs took a five point lead at 19-14 with Lacey Gera serving.

    CSUB would fight back to tie the match at 22 and even get match point at 24-23.

    Two kills by senior Kelly Leonardo pulled the `Dogs within one at 24 and at 25. An attack error by CSUB would give Fresno State the match point at 26-25 and a kill by Lauren Berger sealed the win for the Bulldogs.

    "The most important moment of the match was when CSUB had match point and we stabilized, ran good plays and made things happen," said head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell. "It's a sign of the future."

    Fresno State also defeated CSUB in its home opener in the Fresno State Invitational in 2008 in a 3-2 thriller.

    Fighting Spirit Award
    The `Fighting Spirit Award' is back for its second season at Fresno State. After each match, Netherby-Sewell will name the student-athlete winner and it will be posted in every recap on www.gobulldogs.com. At the end of the season, the student-athlete who has won the most individual titles throughout the season will be named the season winner.

    The first winner of 2009 is Taylor Horton.

    "I have high expectations for all of the newcomers, but Taylor did exactly what we asked her to do," said Netherby-Sewell. "She applied what she has been learning and stayed steady. She really showed the essence of the `Fighting Spirit.'"

    The Fresno State Invitational continues tomorrow at 10 a.m. as Green Bay takes on Cal State Bakersfield. In the first match of the tournament earlier in the evening on Friday, Pacific defeated Green Bay 3-1.

    Tickets are $5 for general admission and students get in free with their Fresno State ID's. A post-match autograph session with the Bulldog team will be held in the concourse of the Save Mart Center at the conclusion of the second match.

    "We Are Your Team" - The Fresno State Invitational will continue on Saturday, August 29th at noon and 7pm with a volleyball double-header against Green Bay and Pacific. Following Pacific game there will be a post-game autograph session featuring the entire Bulldogs Volleyball team. Saturday is also a Hometown Hero Day - In honor of featured player Kasey Van Grouw, fans who show their Exeter ID will receive $2 admission into the game. One admission ticket will get you into both games, so get yours now through the Save Mart Center Box Office or by calling 559-485-TIXS. Tickets are also available at Ticketmaster.com.

     

     

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