Fresno State junior outside hitter Aleisha Coates (3) was one of four Bulldogs to post double-digit dig figures in Saturday’s 3-2 loss to Mountain West rival Boise State. (Khone Saysamongdy/The Collegian)
The Fresno State volleyball team dropped a tough one Saturday afternoon, losing 3-2 to Boise State. Following their game Thursday at Utah State, the Bulldogs capped off their Rocky Mountains trip facing the Broncos in Boise.
Coming off their first conference victory of the season, the ‘Dogs looked to finish their road trip on a high note and pick up another conference victory before heading home.
Boise State gained an early 1-0 lead over the Bulldogs, claiming the first set 25-20. The Broncos jumped out to a lead early and were able to defend every run the Bulldogs tried to mount, holding a lead all throughout the first set. The Bulldogs continued to fight and were able to battle back, earning a Set 2, 28-26 victory to tie the match 1-1.
Fresno State would dominate Set 3, posting a season-best set score of 25-8 to grab a 2-1 set lead. The ‘Dogs opened the set by jumping out to an early 9-1 lead and were able to maintain the impressive performance all throughout the set.
The tides would change going into Set 4 as the Broncos fought past the Bulldogs to grasp a 31-29 victory, tying the match at 2-2. The ‘Dogs were able to jump out to an early 5-0 start in the set, but were unable to maintain the lead. In a set that saw 19 tie scores and seven lead changes, the Broncos outlasted the ‘Dogs in what was a close battle between the two programs.
The Bulldogs’ misfortune would continue into Set 5. While never relinquishing the lead throughout the set, Boise State would complete the comeback en route to a 15-9 Set 5 win.
“I was very proud of the team tonight,” head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell said. “We came out on the short end of the stick but really played hard and battled. We had better performances from far more players tonight than we’ve had in the past. The team has seemed to buy into doing their jobs.”
Leading the way offensively for the ‘Dogs was sophomore Carly Scarbrough who contributed 22 kills, setting a new personal career high. Senior Zana Bowens was right behind her with 14 kills.
Coming off a game in which they had an all-out team effort on offense in the win over Utah State, the ‘Dogs had a similar effort Saturday on the defensive end.
“We played much more disciplined on defense,” Netherby-Sewell said. “This match just came down to a few choices and a few errors at the wrong time. We got a little tentative in the fifth, but it was a great match.”
The ‘Dogs had four different players post double-digit dig figures in the match with junior libero Maggie Eppright once again leading the way with her 23. Jacqueline Hutcheson contributed 13 digs herself, and Aleisha Coates was right behind her with 10.
Bowens also had a big night defensively for the ‘Dogs, finishing with 17 digs to go along with her 14 kills to post her seventh double-double of the season.
“Zana [Bowens] played out of her mind tonight,” Netherby-Sewell said. “She passed, well, dug a ton of balls, served tough and had one of her best attacking performances.”
The loss to the Broncos marked the fourth time in the last five matchups that the ‘Dogs have fallen to the conference rival.
The Bulldogs return to the Save Mart Center Thursday when they take on Nevada as part of the Breast Cancer Awareness Night promotion. The match starts at 7 p.m., and fans who wear pink will receive free admission.