`Dogs Start Quick in Battle For Second Place in MW
Nov. 7, 2013
By Geoff Thurner
FRESNO, Calif. - In its first home action in nearly three weeks, the Fresno State volleyball team (15-10, 9-4) looked happy to be back at the Save Mart Center Thursday after an impressive first-set win, 25-17, against UNLV (14-9, 9-4).
However, the Rebels rebounded to win the next three sets, 25-10, 25-21, 25-21 to give the `Dogs only their second loss in the last 10 matches, and moved UNLV into a tie for second place in the Mountain West with Fresno State, New Mexico and Utah State.
The Rebels ended with a .272 hitting mark - a season high for Bulldog opponents among their 13 MW matches this year - while the `Dogs combined for a .187 mark.
Fresno State did top the team comparison in aces (5-2), kills (56-53) and assists (54-48), while UNLV also held edges in digs (78-71), blocks (12-5) and fewest service errors (2-8).
"We got out great tonight, but then got of system and couldn't regain our rhythm," head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell said. "Tonight was a missed opportunity. We've been on a roll because we have had so many threats offensively, but our setters were a little out of sync, especially with our middles. We made too many service errors, and let them pass better and get their offense going."
For Fresno State, senior right side hitter Holly Franks and senior outside hitter Korrin Wild led the team in kills with 17 and 16, and hit .239 and .256 to pace the team in the respective categories for the sixth and fourth times this year, respectively.
Wild and junior setter Christina Lee added 10 and 16 digs for their ninth and 10th double-doubles of 2013 and 37th and 12th career-wise, respectively. Overall in the category, freshman libero Maggie Eppright topped the team in digs (20) for a team-high 11th time this year.
Lee and freshman setter Brooke Legaux continued to share setting duties in the 6-2 offense and ended with 35 and 15 assists, and the latter mark was Legaux's second-highest of the campaign.
Ranked third in MW play in service aces this week with a 0.34 per set average, Franks dialed up three more Thursday to lead the team in the category for the seventh time this year. Lee posted the team's remaining two aces and tied her season high for the fifth time this year.
Off the bench, sophomore outside hitter Zana Bowens added three kills, five digs and hit .286.
"Korrin and Holly played well tonight, and I thought Zana did some nice things when we brought her in," Netherby-Sewell said. "This has been a long week for some of our players with exams, but that's no excuse. We'll rest up tomorrow and get right back after it on Saturday."
For UNLV, three players posted +10 kills and +5 blocks - Madeline Westman (16, .552, 6 blocks), Sekola Falemaka (13, .275, 6 blocks) and Katlin Winters (11, .435, 5 blocks).
Other Rebel category leaders included Stephanie Thelen (42 assists, 1 ace), Allison Davies (18 digs) and Westman (1 ace).
In their last meeting five weeks ago, the `Dogs swept the Rebels in Las Vegas by a 25-18, 25-15, 25-17 score after it hit a season high .356, while the Rebels were held to .083 (Fresno State's opponent season low).
Looking ahead, the `Dogs next host MW preseason favorite San Diego State (12-11, 7-6) on Saturday, Nov. 9 at noon - an hour earlier than originally scheduled.
The Aztecs fell, 3-2, at San Jose State Thursday night after the Spartans came back from an 0-2 deficit to win the final three sets.
Promotions-wise, Saturday's contest is White Out Day, and all Bulldog fans are encouraged to wear white, while the first 200 fans will get a FREE `Our State' shirt.
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