`Dogs Corralled by Aggies in 4
Oct. 9, 2010
FRESNO, Calif. - The Fresno State volleyball team jumped out to an early lead before New Mexico State charged through the final three sets and defeated the `Dogs 3-1 on Saturday afternoon at the Save Mart Center.
"We played very well in the first sets, one of the best sets we have ever played against such a good team," head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell said. "We just didn't believe that we could win and lost the fight as the game went on."
Netherby-Sewell gave sophomore Brianna Clarke the "Fighting Spirit Award" for her contributions this week that also included Fresno State's 3-0 victory over Louisiana Tech.
"Brianna fought when the chips were down and kept her aggression all the way to the very end," Netherby-Sewell noted.
In the Saturday matinee match, senior Lauren Berger led the `Dogs with a .350 hitting percentage by smashing 11 kills over four sets. Sophomore outside hitter Marissa Brand also added 11 kills and tied a match-high by hitting 54 attacks. Senior libero Kelly Mason dug 21 balls and played some spectacular defense to up her season average to 4.4 digs per set.
"We came out very competitive and as the game went on we just lost our assertiveness and became very passive," Mason reflected. "We need to demand more out of each other as a team."
In the first set, the Bulldogs used their focused and aggressive mindset to take an early advantage. Sophomore Brianna Clarke, who was named to the 2010 Preseason All-WAC team, and Brand powered a host of impressive kills to keep the visiting Aggies on their toes and solidified a 25-23 hard-fought victory in the opening set for the `Dogs.
Fresno State continued to fight and kept the score close in set two, but New Mexico State regrouped and efficiently distributed the ball for the remainder of the match. The Aggies delivered a .419 kill efficiency on 15 kills with only two errors to even the match at 1-1.
The `Dogs once again to Berger and Brand for offensive firepower after the intermission to surge to a 18-15 edge late in the third set, but the strength and agility of the visiting Aggies proved to be too much to overcame as the Aggies sailed to victories the last two sets and earned their fourth WAC win of the conference season.
Fresno State fell to 7-10 on the season and 2-4 in WAC play while the NMSU improved to 10-9 on the year and stayed in second-place in the WAC standings at 4-1 against league opponents.
The `Dogs embark on a four-match road trip that starts on Oct. 17 at No. 6 Hawai'i. Fresno State returns to the Save Mart Center to celebrate the university's Centennial on Oct. 28 against Nevada.
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