Powered by double-doubles from Korrin Wild and Marissa Brand, the Fresno State women’s volleyball team soared to a 3-1 victory over the Air Force Falcons last Saturday
Brand led the team with 20 kills and Wild had 16, while both players had 14 digs in the Bulldogs’ earliest matchup of the season.
“It’s not what we’re used to, 11:00 a.m. is early,” said Fresno State coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell. “It’s nice to get it going early. It’s different, but we got it taken care of.”
Netherby-Sewell executed a different game plan in the matchup. Instead of the 6-2 formation that has been used in recent games, she started with a 5-1 formation that saw more players get time on the court.
“The 6-2 was not working because we had new people in new positions,” Netherby-Sewell said. “But generally, we’re winning with the 6-2 so we’ll stick to it.
“We didn’t have Holly Franks on our right today. To be able to use more of our players and show that we have a little depth and we can get a nice win is a good thing.”
It was a career-high day for junior middle blocker Katie Pearson in aces (four) and digs (five). She also tied a career high with five kills.
“We’ve been trying to figure out which middle we want to serve,” Netherby-Sewell said. “[Katie] proved today that she can do it consistently, so I like where she’s going.”
Fresno State started Set 1 by scoring the first three points. Air Force recovered and tied the game at 13-13. Afterward, the Falcons took their first lead with a Hillary Keltner kill. A Murdock block retied the game at 15-15. After both teams exchanged points, the Bulldogs went on a 4-1 run to win the set 25-21.
Set 2 began in opposite fashion, with Air Force scoring three points before a Wild kill stopped the rally. During the frame, hitting was not on the Bulldogs’ side. The team hit only .163 with six errors, as Air Force won 25-22.
But it looked like a 10-minute break was all the Bulldogs needed to recover.
The Bulldogs had a strong third set. Wild and Brand tallied six kills apiece, and the team committed only one error and improved its hitting to .436. The Falcons also had one error in the frame, while hitting .375. Fresno State did not allow a lead change or a tie score as it won 25-18 to take the 2-1 game lead.
The fourth set saw Air Force play catch-up. Fresno State took the first lead and ran with it, allowing the Falcons to tie four times. Hitting improved again for the Bulldogs and they took advantage of five Falcon errors to win the frame and the game.
The hitting production during the final two sets gave the Bulldogs a .325 hitting percentage in the game.
“Hitting a .325 is excellent, we just couldn’t get into a rhythm,” Netherby-Sewell said. “We had new people in different positions and we were trying different things. We were just miscommunicating a lot and that was frustrating.
“These matches are tough to play. It’s a different environment. Air Force hit really well deep on us and used our line and I thought they did a really good job.”