Junior setter Brooke Legaux (left) and sophomore outside hitter Carly Scarbrough (right) celebrate after Fresno State’s 3-0 sweep of Mountain West Conference rival Nevada. (Darlene Wendels/The Collegian)
The Fresno State volleyball team continued its strong performance at home this season, sweeping the Nevada Wolf Pack 3-0 (25-23, 25-21, 25-17) Thursday night.
“I thought we were really steady in this match, and each week we’re getting better and better,” head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell said. “We’re finding ways to win. Even when we’re down, we keep climbing back up.”
The ‘Dogs (10-8, 2-2) returned to the Save Mart Center looking to improve on their conference record after a quick two-game road trip. Facing a struggling Wolf Pack team, who had lost five of its last seven matches, the ‘Dogs looked to jump on them early.
Fresno State struggled to maintain a lead in the first set as Nevada had an answer for everything the ‘Dogs threw at them. Thanks to three team blocks and a seven-dig contribution from junior Maggie Eppright, the ‘Dogs were able to escape with a 25-23 first-set win. Junior Aleisha Coates and senior Zana Bowens each contributed four kills for the ‘Dogs in Set 1.
“The defense is really starting to trust each other and making adjustments better than they have in the past,” Netherby-Sewell said. “We had a good game plan going in, stopping their outside hitters and not giving them what they wanted.”
Nevada quickly bounced back to open Set 2. After the Wolf Pack jumped out to an early 5-1 lead, the ‘Dogs were quickly forced to take a timeout. Fresno State was able to settle in and find its groove. After getting a lead as big as six in the set, the ‘Dogs were able to walk away with the Set 2, 25-21 win.
Bowens led the way offensively in the second set with five kills and sophomore Carly Scarbrough was right behind her with three.
The Bulldogs’ energy just could not be matched in Set 3. After losing the first two points of the set, the ‘Dogs rode their energy-filled performance to their biggest lead of the match at 21-13. The ‘Dogs had nine kills and two more blocks, using an all-out team performance to down the Wolf Pack in Set 3.
“We really came together and just played like a team tonight,” Coates said. “We knew we were going to have to come out strong and go all out.”
The ‘Dogs were led offensively by Bowens, who finished her night with 10 kills and Scarbrough was right behind her with nine. Freshman Taylor Slover lead the strong performance defensively for the ‘Dogs with six blocks and Eppright contributed with 14 digs.