Aug. 29, 2009
FRESNO, Calif. - For the first time since 2004, the Fresno State volleyball team is 2-0 to open the season with two straight-set sweeps in the Fresno State Invitational. The `Dogs swept Green Bay on Saturday afternoon 3-0 (27-25, 25-19, 25-20) after defeating Cal State Bakersfield 3-0 on Friday night.
It was a comeback match for the `Dogs, as they were down big in each set before rallying back in impressive fashion to earn the sweep.
In set one, Green Bay came out on fire and took a 7-0 lead. Fresno State got on the scoreboard with a kill by Lacey Gera, one of her team-leading 12 on the night.
The `Dogs would tie the match at 14 off of a kill by Lauren Berger who had 10 kills of her own in the match.
Fresno State would take a lead as big as three at 18-15 but Green Bay kept fighting back to stay in the set and would even come back from a 24-22 deficit to get match point. But, a kill by Gera followed by a kill from Brianna Clarke gave the Bulldogs the 27-25 edge.
Clarke, Gera and Berger each had five kills in set one as the team hit .514.
Green Bay would also take an early lead in set two by as many as four at 6-2. A Green Bay error however, tied the set at 10 and a service ace by Allanah Munson gave the `Dogs the lead for good at 11-10.
The biggest deficit of the season for the Bulldogs came in set three as they trailed Green Bay by as many as 10 at 16-6 and 17-7. The Bulldogs rallied though behind the serving of Kasey Van Grouw who got the `Dogs within seven at 18-11.
A service error by Green Bay moved the `Dogs within five at 20-15 and that's when the `Dogs went on a roll.
Gera served the last nine points of the match as the `Dogs got kills by Clarke, Van Grouw and Taylor Horton in that sequence to rally for a 25-20 set victory and a 3-0 match sweep.
"It was pretty impressive to be down that far and to be aggressive and to come back in the third set," said head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell. "Lacey really helped us with some big serves."
For the match, the `Dogs hit .291 with 9.5 team blocks, 44 kills, 41 assists and 57.5 points.
"We have worked so hard to push ourselves to the limit to come back and we achieved that today," said Gera. "I'm really proud of the team that we were able to close that gap."
Fresno State is now 2-1 all-time vs. Green Bay. The other victory for the `Dogs against the Phoenix was also a sweep, back in 1999. Green Bay won the match last season in Green Bay in five sets.
"Kelly did a great job of coming in on defense and making adjustments that we desperately needed," added Netherby-Sewell. "I was really impressed with her poise and her ability to pass. She was terrific."
"Kasey came in off the bench, did her job, fixed our ball control problems and just helped us in every area of the game."
In the first match of day two, Pacific defeated Cal State Bakersfield 3-0. In the conclusion of the Fresno State Invitational, Cal State Bakersfield takes on Green Bay at 5 p.m., followed by the championship match of Pacific and Fresno State at 7 p.m.
We Are Your Team - The Fresno State Invitational will continue on Saturday 7pm with and Pacific. Following the Pacific match 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. 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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