'Dogs Edged by No. 25 Cougars
Freshman Maggie Eppright's eight digs in the third set tied her career match high.
Freshman Maggie Eppright's eight digs in the third set tied her career match high.

Sep 7, 2013

By Geoff Thurner

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PORTLAND, Ore. - The Fresno State volleyball team (2-3) continued action in the Portland Nike Invitational with its first tilt of the season vs. a top-25 foe.

The `Dogs were edged by returning NCAA Regional semifinalist No. 25 BYU (4-2) by a 27-25, 25-13, 25-16 margin to even its action in the tourney hosted at the Chiles Center.

Senior right side hitter Holly Franks paced the Bulldogs in kills (8) for the second time this season, and her seven digs was second-most on the squad behind senior outside hitter Marissa Brand (9).

Senior outside hitter Korrin Wild added seven kills, five digs and two aces, and the latter total moved her into a tie for seventh all-time for Fresno State in career service aces (112) with former 'Dog Diana Nalbandian.

Three other players landed single aces - senior middle blocker Lauren Albertson, junior libero Christina Lee and Brand.

Albertson also led the team in hitting (.250) for the first time in '13, and connected on five kills.

Junior setter Cori Ehmen logged 29 assists in her fifth start of the season, and posted four digs.

Freshman libero Maggie Eppright added eight digs - all of which came in the third set.

For BYU, two players had double-digit kill tallies - junior outside hitter Tambre Haddock (11, .348) and returning All-America honorable mention and sophomore outside hitter Alexa Gray (10, .194).

Haddock paced the team in digs (10), while other category leaders included freshman middle blocker Whitney Young (11 blocks), sophomore setter Camry Godfrey (32 assists), senior middle blocker Kathryn LeCheminant (2 aces) and senior outside hitter Jessica Jardine (2 aces).

The first set proved pivotal in the final points - as the `Dogs lost their first of three sets this season that have gone past regulation.

The `Dogs used three early kills each by sophomore outside hitter Zana Bowens and Wild to fuel a pair of early three-point runs to stake leads of 7-4 and 12-9. BYU answered with a 6-2 spurt to force Fresno State's first timeout at 18-15, and another at 21-18. The Cougar offense finally cooled with four errors in a five-point Bulldog run to give the `Dogs a 23-22 lead. Kills by Albertson and Ehmen denied the Cougars their first chance at the set and Fresno State then pushed ahead, 25-24. However, a BYU kill by Gray, block and Bulldog attack error down the line gave BYU the first set, 27-25.

In the second set, the BYU offense jumped out to 7-2 and 13-4 leads after it converted eight of its first 12 attempts with no errors and forced two early `Dog timeouts. The Cougars continued to roll to a .577 hitting mark in the set en route to a 25-13 advantage. Franks converted five of her eight hits with no errors to pace the team in kills (5) and added three digs.

In the third set, the Bulldogs stayed within two points through 12-10, but a 6-1 BYU run moved its lead to 18-11. Fresno State bounced back with a block by Franks and Albertson and ace by Brand, and another Cougar attack error to draw within, 19-14. The Cougars, however, ended the set with a 6-2 advantage to win, 25-16.

"I thought we made a great comeback in the first set," head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell said, "but losing it deflated us and we lost momentum. BYU then got their rhythm going in the second set, while our passing struggled. We brought Maggie in late, and she got eight digs in that last set and did some good things. Their blockers played really well, and prevented our offense from getting going. We need to learn some lessons from today, move forward, and come back and try to end the tourney with a win tonight."

Looking ahead to Saturday evening, Fresno State closes tourney action vs. another NCAA Semifinalist from last year in Wichita State (3-1) at 5 p.m. at the Chiles Center.

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

Catch the Wave - The Bulldogs look forward to hosting the Bulldog Classic Presented by Deli Delicious, next 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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