By Theresa Kurtz
FRESNO, Calif. - The Fresno State volleyball team rallied from behind winning two-straight sets to force a fifth set in its 2012 home opener against Sacramento State. The Bulldogs (4-3, 0-0 MW) rally fell short as the Hornets defeated the `Dogs 3-2.
"It was great to back in the Save Mart Center and the fans were awesome, but it's disappointing we didn't do our job in the serving and passing battle," said junior Korrin Wild. "Our offense did well tonight, but we served tentatively and didn't pass aggressively."
The `Dogs won the first set and rallied to win sets No. 3 and 4 to force a deciding set, which Sacramento State won 15-13.
"Tonight was a struggle, we didn't serve or pass well," said head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell. "When you aren't serving and passing well it is hard to get into a rhythm. We were hitting pretty well. We had a good offensive night and dug way more balls than they did. We had more kills, but also had more errors. It came down to the serve and pass battle, which they won by a hair."
Three Bulldogs had a career night in front of the home crowd. Libero Christina Lee collected a career-high 34 digs averaging 6.8 per set. Her previous match best was 27 digs. Junior Megan Callahan recorded a career best 16 kills. She led the team hitting .419 converting 16-of-31 attempts. Finally, setter Barbara Alcantara recorded a career-high 59 assists in five sets. Earlier this season, she recorded 58 assists.
Callahan opened the first set with a kill from the right side. The Bulldogs took a two-point lead, but the Hornets tied up the set and then took the lead with 5-0 run. Callahan ended the run with her second kill of the set, which also fueled a 4-0 run as the `Dogs took back the lead.
The Bulldogs took the first set 25-18. Wild led the `Dogs with five kills, while Callahan hit a set-high .667 with four kills.
Down by four-points, the Bulldogs went on a 6-0 run to take a 19-17 lead in the second set. The set stayed evenly matched until the end. The `Dogs took the lead with a kill from Alcantara to end a long rally, which saw some impressive digs from the Bulldogs.
Sacramento State battled back winning the `Dogs set point to keep the set alive twice, before taking the second set 28-26.
Wild needed only two sets to record her third double-double of the year. After two sets, she had 11 kills and 11 digs. Wild ended the night with 26 kills, which is one shy of her career best set last season against Utah State. Wild also recorded 22 digs.
Fresno State trailed by five points before coming back with a 7-2 run even out the third set 22-22. The Hornets won the third set 25-23 taking a 2-1 lead into the fourth set of the match.
Behind the blocking of Lauren Albertson, the Bulldogs took an early 7-4 lead in the fourth set. The junior recorded a total of six blocks, which led the team for the night. Albertson hit .750 with three kills in the set.
Marissa Brand ended a long rally with a tip over the net as the `Dogs increased their lead 20-12. Brand ended the night with 14 kills and 22 digs for her third double-double of the season. The Bulldogs evened the match, 2-2, after winning the fourth set 25-15 forcing a fifth and final set.
Wild came up with a monstrous kill in the fifth set giving the `Dogs a 10-7 lead. She followed her kill with an ace, her second of the night. The Hornets came from behind to win the final set 15-13.
The Bulldogs play UC Davis in their second match of the Fresno State Classic on Saturday, Sept. 8 at noon in the Save Mart Center.
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