Fresno State junior outside hitter Aleisha Coates earned all-tournament honors for her performance over the weekend at the Bulldog Showdown. (Khone Saysamongdy/The Collegian)
Looking to bounce back from a disappointing loss earlier in the day, the Bulldogs jumped to the floor against the Chippewas of Central Michigan. The first set started off hot as the ‘Dogs got off out to an early lead, taking five of the first seven points. However, after dropping the next six points the ‘Dogs were forced to take their first timeout.
“When Central Michigan was pushing us and putting the pressure on we stayed tough and I was happy about that,” head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell said.
After the timeout, the ‘Dogs fought back and forth with the Chippewas all throughout the first set and worked their way to a 27-25 first set win.
The second set started off right where the ‘Dogs left off. After quickly jumping out to another lead, this time the ‘Dogs did not look back. They were able to hold the lead all through out the set on their way to a dominant 25-19 second-set win.
Through two sets, the ‘Dogs were led by sophomore Carly Scarbrough who had 11 of the team’s 26 kills. Junior Aleisha Coates was right behind her with eight kills. Junior Maggie Eppright lead the ‘Dogs defensively through two sets totaling 11 digs, well on her way to another match atop the digs list.
The third set began with the ‘Dogs on top yet again. After quickly jumping out to a 6-2 lead and forcing the Chippewas to take a timeout, the ‘Dogs maintained their early lead all the way until the final point as they took the third set 25-19 and the match 3-0.
“Our motto is to out work, out think, out play, so we’ve got to out work people all the time,” Netherby-Sewell said. “We’ve got to hustle, we’ got to talk, we’ve got to communicate, and they’re starting to learn how to do those things more consistently.”
Leading the way for the ‘Dogs offensively was Coates and Scarbrough, finishing the match with 15 and 14 kills respectively on their way to earning first-team honors for the Showdown.
“They were clear all-tournament picks,” Netherby-Sewell said. “They were something special this weekend and they really held us together offensively.”
Maggie Eppright continued her impressive start to the 2015 season, defensively totaling 17 digs on the match to lead the way for the ‘Dogs.
The Bulldogs finish the Bulldog Showdown winning three of the four games over the weekend. The ‘Dogs defeated UC Riverside (25-18, 25-20, 25-20) and Cal State Fullerton (22-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-21) Friday, but fell to Sacramento State (25-19, 17-25, 19-25, 22-25) Saturday morning before beating the Chippewas.
Next up for the ‘Dogs is the Fresno State Classic beginning Friday in the Save Mart Center. The first game for Fresno State will be at 10 a.m. Friday morning against Portland before they take on Southern Utah later at 7:30 p.m.