Fresno State freshman Taylor Slover goes in for a kill during the ‘Dogs’ 3-0 sweep of Fresno Pacific Tuesday night at Save Mart Center. (Khone Saysamongdy/The Collegian)
In their final tune-up before they open Mountain West Conference play, the ‘Dogs dominated Fresno Pacific, sweeping the match 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-17).
Coming off their championship performance during the Fresno State Classic, and winning six of their last eight matches, the ‘Dogs looked to continue their form against an in-town rival.
Playing in front of one of their biggest crowds this year, the ‘Dogs came out firing on all cylinders. They quickly jumped out to an early four-point lead in set one. The ‘Dogs continued their dominant play early on their way to a set one win, 25-19.
“It was awesome, it was a full, packed house,” head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell said. “Our girls were all fired up and it was a really good experience.”
Sophomore Carly Scarbrough lead the way early for the ‘Dogs racking up six kills in the first set. Freshman Taylor Slover was right behind her with four.
The second set began with FPU jumping out to their first lead of the match but the ‘Dogs quickly answered. In what was a highly contested second set, momentum kept swinging back and forth as neither keep could maintain a steady lead. In the end, it was the ‘Dogs who fought their way to a second set win, 25-22.
Senior Zana Bowens and Scarbrough lead the way for the ‘Dogs offensively through two sets with seven kills each. Junior Maggie Eppright continued to lead the team defensively, totaling 12 digs in the second set.
Set three looked a lot like set one. The ‘Dogs jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. Barring a few unforced errors by FPU, the ‘Dogs play in set three was stellar. Maintaining leads of more than five all set, the ‘Dogs dominated on their way to a sweep of the Sunbirds.
“We played great offensively but we had a really hard time defensively picking up what they were putting down defensively,” Netherby-Sewell said. “We finally made an adjustment in set three and picked up our play.”
The ‘Dogs had a truly balanced offensive attack in the match with Bowens finishing with 10 kills, Scarbrough and junior Aleisha Coates were right behind her with eight kills each. Five Bulldogs finished the night with six or more kills.
Eppright continued her fantastic start to the season defensively, leading the Bulldogs through the entire and finishing her night with 14 digs. Coming into tonight’s match, Eppright was leading the Mountain West Conference with 254 digs so far this season, averaging just over five per set.
“We’re ready, it’s been a long preseason,” Netherby-Sewell said. “We’ve had our ups and downs but we’re ready for Thursday.”
The ‘Dogs will look to continue their solid play and the momentum they’ve built up as they open conference play and finish their nine-game homestand. They’ll welcome the Spartans from San Jose State into the Save Mart Center Thursday at 7 p.m.