The Fresno State volleyball team comes home happy after a 2-1 start to their season.
The Bulldogs started off the weekend slow after being swept in three sets by the Racers from Murray State in the opening contest of the Catamount Volleyball Classic.
“It was obviously a disappointing way to start,” head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell said. “But we saw a lot of good things out there. We started off really nervous and shaky with so many young players out there and facing a team that is really experienced.”
The young ‘Dogs couldn’t keep up with the experienced Racers, who have five juniors and seniors this year compared to the Bulldogs, who only have two seniors. After losing a toughly contested first set 26-24, and they were unable to crack the experienced Racers, losing the next two sets 25-19 and 25-21.
Junior Aleisha Coates led the team offensively with 13 kills and Junior Maggie Eppright led the team defensively with 21 digs, seven short of her career game-high. The ‘Dogs however bounced back quickly the next day.
Starting off their Saturday with Georgia State, the Bulldogs had another hard fought matchup. After losing two of the first three sets (25-27, 25-21, 11-25), the ladies rallied back and took the last two sets 25-19 and 15-10.
Zana Bowens, one of only two seniors on the team, led the way offensively with 12 kills, Coates was right behind her with 11 kills and Eppright once again led the team defensively with 22 digs. Lauren Torres and fellow sophomore Carly Scarbrough also had great defensive games with 13 collective blocks against the Panthers.
After a good start to their day, the ‘Dogs continued to grow as a team and made quick work of host Western Carolina, taking the first three sets (25-23, 25-21, 25-12).
The ladies used an all out team effort to sweep the Catamounts. Four ‘Dogs, including Coates and Bowens as well as Scarbrough and Freshman Taylor Slover, who quickly made her presence known as a Bulldog, led the team with 10 kills apiece. Eppright once again was strong defensively with 21 digs, setting her weekend total at 64 digs, earning her All-Tournament honors.
Junior Brooke Lagaux joined Eppright as a fellow ‘Dogs All-Tournament honors recipient. Legaux had 116 total assists, with double digit figures in all three matches, including her season high 47 against Georgia State which was only four points shy of her career-high.
“We saw such growth in a matter of three matches,” Netherby-Sewell said. “We started the weekend off unsure of ourselves and ended the tournament playing Bulldog Volleyball – tough and tenacious.”
The ‘Dogs will look to bring the same tenacity to the court Tuesday night when they welcome the Cal Poly Mustangs in the Save Mart Center for their home opener. The match is set to start at 7 p.m.