Sept. 14, 2013
FRESNO, Calif. - With its 3-0 victory over Cal State Bakersfield (5-4) Saturday afternoon, the Fresno State volleyball team (4-4) stayed perfect in the Fresno State Classic Presented by Deli Delicious.
Extending its consecutive set win streak to six sets, the `Dogs also enjoyed their second sweep of the season and first of the season at home this year.
In her second match as the starting setter, junior Christina Lee helped Fresno State log a season high in hitting (.300) - .034 better than its previous best vs. NCAA returnee Santa Clara (.266).
Conversely, CSUB's .028 hitting total was an opponent season low, and the `Dogs owned other edges in team comparisons for kills (39-28), assists (36-27), blocks (7-3), digs (49-41) and aces (5-3).
"I really liked how we played," head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell said. "Our serving and passing is our key, and we served a lot tougher. Overall, I was really proud of our effort - we're taking it one match at a time and trying to get better. We had a lot cleaner play and a lot fewer silly mistakes."
Senior outside hitter Korrin Wild topped the team in kills (14) and points (14.5) for the fifth time in each category, and also logged seven digs.
"We're a very good offensive team, and when we get our serving going it helps it that much more," Wild said. "We have been working hard offensively the past week to communicate better with each other and do the little things that help each other execute."
Senior right side hitter Holly Franks logged her third straight double-double (10 kills, 10 digs) and her third +.300 total (.320) of the season.
Lee logged 27 assists and enjoyed her fourth career double-double with her team-leading 14 digs. She also connected on a season-high two aces to lead the team for the first time in 2013 (and matched her previous season total).
Junior middle blocker Maci Murdock (.600, 6 kills) logged her third +.600 total of the season and added three blocks.
In her seventh start of the season, sophomore outside hitter Zana Bowens had another of the match's most balanced efforts with her nine digs, five kills and a career high five blocks - one better than her previous season best vs. CS Northridge.
Freshman libero Maggie Eppright connected on a career-high three aces in her third, multi-ace match of the year and second straight team match high.
"Christina is such a great volleyball player," Netherby-Sewell said. "People who know the game see how many little things she does right, and she's doing a great job for us. I was pleasantly surprised by Zana's blocks today - she really figured out how to guard the slide. She played disciplined, and it worked for her."
In the first set, CSUB opened the match with their longest run of the set to go up 3-0, but Fresno State answered with a run of four and three points to stake an 8-5 lead after two of Wild's five kills in the set and both of Zana Bowens' blocks. Another four-point, mid-set run included two CSUB attack errors and a service error to push the Dogs' lead to 16-10. Fresno State ended the set with another 4-0 spurt that featured kills by Wild and Murdock en route to the 25-15 decision.
In set two, a four-point run punctuated by an Eppright ace made it 11-7, and moments later Franks landed her seventh kill of the set to push Fresno State ahead, 17-15. The Bulldogs' biggest run of the match - a six-pointer - followed with two Wild kills, two Eppright aces, and a block by Wild and Albertson to give a 23-17 edge. Two CSUB hitting errors later gave the `Dogs their final points in the 25-18 decision.
In the third set, Lee served up both of her aces in an opening 4-0 run, and Bowens followed with a five-point serving run to put the team up 16-5 and force both of CSUB's timeouts. Franks made her longest serving run of the match with her four serves to put the team ahead 24-15, and a bad Roadrunner set ended the match, 25-15.
Earlier in the tournament, Fresno State opened action Friday evening with a 3-2 comeback win over Belmont, while No. 20 Oregon swept Bakersfield afterward.
`We're trying to get better each play, each set, each match," Wild said. "We started off a little slow last night, but we improved as we went along. We knew Bakersfield was a good team that was going to fight, so we needed to be disciplined. We have great confidence in our setters, and Christina did a great job of distributing the ball really well."
Looking ahead, the `Dogs wrap up tourney action vs. returning national runner-up and No. 20 Oregon Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. Just before, CSUB will face another returning NCAA veteran in Belmont at 5 p.m.
"We've seen Oregon play a few times this weekend," Netherby-Sewell said. "They're a really good team when they're passing well, just like us. We will have to play hard, communicate well and stay focused - it should be a fun match for our fans to watch."
Both of Saturday evening's matches will be video-streamed online live at the http://bit.ly/MWNLive URL address.
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