Nov. 1, 2013
SAN JOSE, Calif. - The Fresno State volleyball team (15-9, 9-3) shook off a sluggish start to win the final three sets en route to a thrilling win at San Jose State (5-17, 2-9) Friday night.
After dropping the first two sets, 25-22 and 25-23, the `Dogs bounced back with convincing 25-18 and 25-13 advantages in the third and fourth sets. Fresno State then springboarded off a 6-2 lead in the fifth set en route to a 15-12 decision and its seventh win the last eight matches (and hold onto second place in the MW).
"We came into the match a little flat," Fresno State volleyball head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell said. "We had a long bus ride late last night, and I was hoping it wouldn't effect us, but it might have. Once we changed our serving targets after the intermission, that made a difference. We knew they could dig well, and once we got our serving and passing up to par, our digging and blocking came along, too."
Team-wise at match's end, the `Dogs sported edges in kills (63-49), hitting (.253-.141), assists (61-47), aces (8-6) and digs (67-58), and the Spartans topped comparisons for blocks (13-7) and fewest service errors (10-12).
Senior outside hitter Marissa Brand ended with a team-season high 22 kills for the 10th career +20-kill effort of her career. She also led the team in kills for the second straight match and sixth time this year, and also added eight digs.
The team featured three hitters with +10 kills for the 10th time this year with added efforts by senior outside hitter Korrin Wild (15 kills, .278) and senior right side hitter Holly Franks (12 kills, .267).
Wild also topped the team in digs (19) for the sixth time this year and tied the team's second-season best total by a non-libero en route to her 36th double-double career-wise and eighth of the year.
Junior middle blocker Katie Pearson added three aces to lead the team for the fourth time in the last five matches and raise her ace per set average in that span to a sparkling 0.85 average .
Wild and Franks both added a pair of aces for their eighth and seventh double-digit ace efforts of '13. Their efforts helped the team which had only one ace (and nine service errors) after two sets to end with seven aces and only two errors the final three sets.
Franks added four blocks to lead the team for the seventh time this year.
Junior setter Christian Lee ended with 35 assists, and freshman setter Brooke Legaux claimed a season-high 18 assists to help the team post 61 assists and its fifth-best mark of the season.
Lee added 10 digs for her ninth double-double of the year.
Freshman libero Maggie Eppright ended with 16 digs to give the team three players with +10 digs for the eighth time this season.
"Marissa grinded it out," Netherby-Sewell said. "She wasn't completely healthy but found a way to give us a lift and was big at key times tonight. Katie and her serving got some great runs started for us, and it was nice for her to be able to do it in her hometown in front of her family. Holly also really lifted us the latter sets in various ways, and Korrin and Maci (Murdock) played key roles, too."
For SJSU, Mary Alice O'Reilly topped the team in kills (15) and hitting (.235) and two others had +10 kills - Lauren Jacobsen (12 kills, .143) and Hanah Blume (12 kills, .140).
Blume also led in digs (17), and other Spartan category leaders included Michaela Leonard (41 assists), Sarah Griest (8 blocks) and Cori O'Donoghue (2 aces).
In set 1, the `Dogs saw a 15-14 deficit at the media timeout balloon to 18-14 on a pair of aces by SJSU. Fresno State fought back to tie it 21-21, but the Spartans ended the set on a 4-1 run thanks to a pair of `Dog hitting errors.
In set 2, Fresno State continued to fall victim to miscues as six more service errors and six Spartan blocks were the difference in the two-point, 25-23 contest. Brand carried the offense most of the way, and her eighth kill of the set resulted in a 19-18 advantage. Wild added eight digs in the period and her fourth kill of the set to put FS up, 22-21. However, three Spartan kills and a `Dog error ended the stanza in the home team's favor.
In set 3, a pair of three-point runs early gave FS a 10-5 lead, and another pair of two-point spurts bumped its lead to 15-9 on an ace by Katie Pearson at the media timeout - one of three for the team in the set. Murdock connected on back-to-back kills to give her three kills on as many attempts in the set and a 20-12 lead. Franks later ended the set with three of her five kills (on six attempts) and a 25-18 victory.
In set 4, the `Dogs used a 6-1 run to open up a 8-4 lead , then used a Murdock kill and two more Spartan attack errors to go up, 13-7. SJSU answered with a 4-1 run to pull within, 15-12. After a Bulldog timeout, back-to-back kills by Katie Pearson and Franks, and a Pearson ace fueled a 5-0 run to make it 20-12, while a Franks ace and pair of Brand kills punctuated a 5-0 final run in the 25-13 set.
In set 5, after FS went up 2-0, it used another four-point run to go up 6-2 on a Katie Pearson ace. After a pair of SJSU service errors pushed Fresno State's lead to 9-5, the Spartans closed within 10-9 on an ace and forced a Bulldog timeout. FS answered with three straight points to go up 12-9, and forced another Spartan timeout. The `Dogs ended the match with a Franks kill, Lee dump and Brand kill down the line to pull out its eighth straight win in the series.
Looking ahead, the `Dogs return home to host UNLV and San Diego State next Thursday and Saturday, Nov. 7 and 9 at 7 p.m. and 1 p.m, respectively.
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