'Dogs Soar Past Pilots in Opener
Senior outside hitter Marissa Brand topped the team in kills (10) for the first time in 2013.
Senior outside hitter Marissa Brand topped the team in kills (10) for the first time in 2013.

Sep 6, 2013

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Fresno State volleyball team (2-2) cruised to its first sweep of the season over the University of Portland (0-4) Friday afternoon in its Portland Nike Invitational opener at the Chiles Center.

The `Dogs rolled to a 25-21, 25-20, 25-19 decision after it held the Pilots to an opponent season-low .071 hitting mark, and also connected on a season high in aces (7).

"Today was a good win for us," head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell said, "especially on the road. We improved as the match went on, and I felt we were able to create pretty good energy. We were able to mix up our rotation a little, and our outside hitters really helped to stabilize us."

The Bulldogs also sported team advantages in kills (32-30), assists (31-29) and digs (40-30), and UP held an 8-6 edge in blocks.

Senior outside hitter Marissa Brand came off the bench to share the team lead in kills (10), and also posted season highs in hitting (.304), aces (1) and blocks (3).

"Marissa was great for us offensively," Netherby-Sewell said. "We have so much depth on the outside, and she was able to connect on some nice shots down the line. Defensively, she blocked really well and really helped take away their slide."

Another former all-league senior outside hitter, Korrin Wild, scored her second double-double of the season and 30th career-wise, thanks to her 10 kills and 13 digs.

The Kingsburg, Calif., native posted a .333 hitting mark, tied her team season high in aces (3), and led the team in points (13.5) for the second time in 2013. On defense, senior middle blocker Lauren Albertson led the team in blocks (4) for the second time this year, and junior libero Christina Lee held similar honors in digs (12) with her third double-digit tally of the campaign.



Other notable stat-getters included junior setter Cori Ehmen (27 assists, 4 digs), senior right side hitter Holly Franks (5 kills) and freshman defensive specialist Maggie Eppright (season high 2 aces).

In the first set, the `Dogs jumped out to an 8-4 edge after four errors by the Pilots. UP bounced back with three straight points to tie the match, 9-9, but the `Dogs answered with a three-point run to go up, 12-9, and never trailed afterwards. UP closed the margin to one point at 17-16 with an ace by Autumn Wedan. Franks, however, ultimately ended the set with her third kill of the set - tops on the team for the period with Albertson (and the latter was perfect on all three of her attempts).

In the second set, the two teams were separated by two points or less with eight ties through 16-16. Fresno State quickly responded with a 3-1 run on an Eppright ace and Wild kill to go up, 19-17. Brand then keyed the team's final scoring run with four of her six kills in the stanza and a block assist with Albertson.

In the third set, the Dogs' serving continued to improve with aces by Brand, Eppright, Wild and junior outside hitter Jaimee-Lee Morrow. The team had a pair of four-point runs to go up 8-6 and 13-10 (with Wild and Brand scoring two kills in each respective run). In the remainder, Fresno State added four more two-point runs that included three more of Brand's kills and another at match point.

For Portland, individual category leaders included Wedan (11 kills, 10 digs, 4 blocks, 14.5 points), Makayla Lindburg (.368), Monica Jordan (22 assists) and Brittney Markwith (4 blocks).

In other action earlier Friday, Wichita State beat Utah State, 3-2, and Friday's other match will feature the Pilots and Shockers at 7:30 p.m.

Looking ahead to Saturday, Fresno State closes tourney action vs. a pair of NCAA Tournament returnees in No. 25 BYU (1-2) at 10 a.m. and Wichita State (3-1) at 5 p.m. at the Chiles Center.

"We will need to play better on Saturday," Netherby-Sewell said. "We started a little slow today, and need to find our rhythm earlier. Their offense caught us off guard a little with their tips and mishits. We will also need to serve better to try and slow Wichita State offensively since they run a lot of quick plays with their middles, and their setter likes to dump the ball, too."

Fans can watch all the remaining matches at the www.PortlandPilots website at the http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/up.portal# URL address.

Catch the Wave - The Bulldogs look forward next week to hosting the Bulldog Classic Presented by Deli Delicious, Friday-Saturday, September 13-14. The tournament welcomes a pair of 2012 NCAA Tournament returnees - national runner-up Oregon and Belmont - and CSU Bakersfield to the two-day, six-match tournament at the Save Mart Center. Tickets are available at www.GoBulldogs.com, and watch action live online at the www.TheMWC.com website.

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