`Dogs Dust Cowgirls in Laramie, 3-0
Oct. 26, 2013
LARAMIE, Wyo. - The Fresno State volleyball team (13-9, 7-3) capped the second half of MW play with a 3-0 win over Wyoming (14-10, 4-6) Saturday afternoon at the UniWyo Sports Complex.
Posting its fourth sweep of the conference slate, the `Dogs cruised to a 25-12, 25-21, 25-23 victory to hold onto third place in the Mountain West and stake its sixth win the last seven matches.
"This can be a tough place to play," head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell said, "so it was good to get back on the winning track. Right from the start, our offense re-established itself and led the way. I had a lot of confidence in our players, and even when Wyoming came up with some big blocks, I tried to let them play through it and not call time out. Our players showed their maturity and were able to maintain their poise."
Offensively, Fresno State soared to its eighth +.300 total of the year (and all within the last 15 matches) and posted a three-set season high in kills (49). In contrast, the Cowgirls were the seventh foe to be held below .200 this season, and their .135 total was the third-lowest by an opponent in 2013.
In other team comparisons, the `Dogs also held the upper hand in kills (49-26), assists (44-24), aces (5-2) and digs (45-34), while the Cowgirls sported advantages in blocks (10-4) and fewest service errors (4-12).
The balanced Bulldog offense featured three hitters with +10 kills for the ninth time this year and first time in three sets, thanks to senior outside hitters Korrin Wild (15, .235) and Marissa Brand (14, .393) and senior right side hitter Holly Franks (12, .455).
"We knew we needed to get the offense back on track and have all three options going," Wild said. "Wyoming is a good blocking team so we swung high, and didn't focus on the errors when they did block us, and tried to bounce right back. We came in with confidence after a good practice yesterday, and kept the focus on ourselves."
For the returning All-MW pick Wild, it was the first match that she led the team in blocks this year and team-best 12th time she topped the kills and points categories. Her 15 kills also stood as a team three-set high, and Brand tied the former mark for the second time this year.
With her second .400 total of the year, Frank posted her season high (.455) and the team's sixth-best total among those with +10 kills. Just behind in the hitting column, Brand's .393 mark was her seventh +.300 total of '13, and Maci Murdock's .308 average (6K-2E-13A) was her 14th.
Wild and Franks also tied for the team lead in blocks (2) with both of Wild's came via solo blocks.
Junior setter Christina Lee set a team season best in assists for a three-set match (36 - five better than her previous mark) and just missed her ninth double-double of the year with her nine digs.
"Christina fed our hitters well," Netherby-Sewell said, "and created a nice rhythm for them. Holly played really well and really got it done. She played really smooth and made good choices, especially against some tough blocks."
Freshman setter Brooke Legaux added five assists off the bench in the 6-2 offense to give the team a three-set season high (44) by three assists.
Junior middle blocker Katie Pearson ended with three aces - one off her season high - and led the team for the third straight match (and now also has eight aces in her last nine sets).
Freshman libero Maggie Eppright topped the team in digs (13) for the 11th time this year and logged her third double-digit tally of the year in three-set action. For Wyoming, the national leader in blocks - Erin Kirby - led the home team Saturday (8), as well as in kills (8) and points (12), and hit .278. Other Cowgirl category leaders included Rachel Keyes (23 assists), Nicole Walker (8 digs, 1 ace) and Courtney Chacon (1 ace).
In set one, the `Dogs jumped out to a 7-1 lead after three kills by Franks and an ace by Pearson. Another six-point burst ended by a Wild ace pushed Fresno State's lead to 17-7, and Wild ended a final three-point run with a solo block in the 25-12 stanza. Team-wise, FS sported a .700 hitting mark after it had only one error among its 15 kills and 20 attempts.
In set two, Lee logged an ace early as FS jumped out to an 8-3 lead, but the Cowgirls rallied to tie it, 9-9, after Kirby logged three blocks and a kill. Wyoming pushed ahead to a 15-12 lead, but another Pearson ace helped FS re-tie it, 16-16. Five more ties followed through 21-21 before the `Dogs ended the set on a four-point run to win, 25-21.
In set three, a pair of early kills from Franks and Murdock helped the `Dogs stake a 10-4 lead. The Cowgirls - ranked ninth nationally in blocks this week - pulled back even at 11-11 after four blocks in a seven-point series. However, three kills by Brand helped Fresno State forge back ahead, 19-16. Wild later added a fadeaway punch-over kill at the left pin at 23-19, but Wyoming rallied with three straight points to pull back within, 23-22. Franks answered with a pair of kills off the Cowgirl block to end the 25-23 set.
Looking ahead, the `Dogs next head to Nevada and San Jose State for 7 p.m. matches on Thursday, October 31 and Friday, November 1.