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From left: Seniors Maggie Eppright (#23), Brooke Legeaux (#14) and Aleisha Coates (#3) are recognized at the Save Mart Center for Senior Salute Night before Wednesday’s game against the Utah State Aggies. (Khone Saysamongdy/The Collegian)

‘Dogs shine on Senior Salute Night

The Fresno State volleyball team defeated Utah State 3-1 on Wednesday evening at its Senior Salute Night at the Save Mart Center with standout performances by the team’s graduating seniors, Aleisha Coates, Maggie Eppright and Brooke Legeaux.

After dropping the first set 25-20, the ’Dogs bounced back to defeat the Aggies in three straight hard-fought sets 25-23, 25-22, 32-30.

The ’Dogs fell behind 20-8 in the first set, but a 9-2 run trimmed the Aggies’ lead. Despite cutting the lead to five, the Bulldogs could not hang on and lost the set by that margin.

Down 23-21 in the second set, the Bulldogs came out of a timeout and managed to tie the set with kills by Coates and Haile Watson. Two Utah State attack errors gave the ’Dogs the advantage and tied the match 1-1.

The third set saw eight ties. Tied at 21, Fresno State scored the four points needed to secure the set with a pair of kills by redshirt freshman setter Madelyn Halteman. The final set was hard-fought as it featured 16 ties and six match-point chances for the Bulldogs. With the score at 31-30, a kill by Coates secured the victory.  

We were shaky in the beginning of the match, and I just knew that they were going to come around. They settled in and they started fighting,” head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell said. “I love seeing the seniors just play and not think too much, and that is what Aleisha Coates did. She was an amazing outside hitter tonight. She had a great match.”

Coates led the Bulldogs with 23 kills, one shy of her career record, and added 12 digs, three solo blocks and two service aces. Libero Eppright added 21 digs for her third match this season and setter Legeaux added 16 assists, seven digs and one kill.  

“We would not have wanted to go out any other way than with a win and winning after a tough few matches,” Eppright said.

The Bulldogs (14-14) finish their season on Tuesday traveling to San Jose State to take on the 12-16 Spartans at 6 p.m.