'Dogs Bite Owls in Season Opener, 3-2
Zana Bowens recorded a career-high 21 kills in the 'Dogs win over Rice on Friday night.
Zana Bowens recorded a career-high 21 kills in the 'Dogs win over Rice on Friday night.

Aug 30, 2013


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FRESNO, Calif.---The Fresno State women's volleyball team opened its 2013 campaign with a thrilling five-set win over Rice in the Bulldog Invitational Presented by Deli Delicious at the Save Mart Center Friday night.

The Bulldogs (1-0) won the first set by a 25-22 score, but the Owls (0-1) responded with second- and third-set decisions by 25-23 and 25-21 counts.

Facing a 24-22 match point deficit in the fourth set, Fresno State scored the final four points behind the serving of senior outside hitter Korrin Wild en route to a 26-24 comeback and force the decisive fifth set.

In the final stanza, Fresno State received four kills from sophomore outside hitter Zana Bowens and three from senior middle blocker Lauren Albertson on their way to the 15-12 win. The Long Beach native Bowens had the best night of her short career as a Bulldog. She set new career-highs with 21 kills and 50 attempts, and also tied for the team lead in aces (2) with Wild.

Altogether, the balanced the Fresno State offense had five players reach double-digits in kills.

Besides the big night from Bowens, Wild had 18 kills, Albertson had 11, and junior middle blocker Maci Murdock and senior right side hitter Holly Franks each finished with 10.

Franks - a transfer Cal Poly and Tollhouse, Calif., product - made her debut for the 'Dogs Friday, as did junior setter Cori Ehmen. The latter player, a transfer from Iowa Western Community College, finished with 62 assists.

The York, Neb., native Ehmen also logged the first double-double of her Fresno State career with her 10 digs.

On defense, junior libero Christina Lee ended with 24 digs, while Wild and freshman defensive specialist Maggie Eppright added nine and eight, respectively.

Murdock led the blocks column (7), and Albertson and Franks each recorded four.

For Rice - the Conference USA preseason favorite, four players registered +10 kills - senior outside hitter Mariah Riddlesprigger (15, .256), freshman right side hitter, Chelsey Harris (13, .053), junior middle blocker Jillian Humphrey (11, .143) and senior setter Megan Murphy (10 digs, 52 assists).

On defense, Humphrey posted a match high 11 blocks, and sophomore libero Kimberly Vaio logged 16 digs.

In the team comparison, Fresno State held edges in hitting (.234-.191), assists (68-60), kills (71-63), aces (5-4) and digs (68-63), and Rice held the advantage in blocks (17-12).

Later Friday night, Cal State Northridge swept Santa Clara at the Save Mart Center by a 25-23, 25-22, 26-24 count.

Looking ahead, action at the Bulldog Invitational Presented by Deli Delicious continues Saturday when the Bulldogs take on Santa Clara at noon and Cal State Northridge at 7:30. The Bulldog-Bronco contest will be broadcast live on ESPN The Deuce 790 AM and videostreamed online live at the Mountain West Conference website.

The tournament's other two final-day matches will be held at 10 a.m. between Rice and Cal State Northridge at 10 a.m. and between Santa Clara and Rice at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

"Catch the Wave" --- Season tickets for Fresno State Volleyball start at $55 for adults and $35 for seniors and youth. A special 12-game tournament mini-plan is available for $15 and the Family & Friends Season Flex Plan starts at $89. To purchase season tickets, please visit www.gobulldogs.com or call 559-278-DOGS.



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