Bulldogs down Santa Clara in five sets

Fresno State outside hitter Desiree Sukhov battles for the the ball during the final match of the Fresno State Invitational against Santa Clara University at the Save Mart Center on Friday, Sept. 7, 2019. (Jorge Rodriguez/The Collegian)

The Fresno State women’s volleyball team ended their run in the Fresno State Invitational with a 3-2 win over Santa Clara University Friday evening at the Save Mart Center. 

After losing their initial match on Thursday against CSU Bakersfield, the ‘Dogs followed the loss Friday defeating CSU Northridge in three sets.

The first set of the match started with the Bulldogs taking the first points and the lead, however the Broncos quickly tied it up.

After a back and forth, Santa Clara took the lead and stretched the lead to four points. The Broncos kept adding points to their lead, taking advantage of the Bulldog’s defensive mishaps.

Santa Clara gained a large enough lead that no matter how much the ‘Dogs tried they still continue to fall short. In the end the Broncos took the first set of the match 25-20 and taking a 1-0 lead in the match.

In the second set, the Bulldogs came out strong scoring four consecutive points and taking the lead early on in the set. 

The Bulldogs lead grew due to momentum and they were able to take advantage of every mistake the Broncos made.

Fresno State went on a five-point run before the Broncos’ coaching staff called timeout. Santa Clara cut the ‘Dogs lead to only two points, taking advantage of several mistakes made by the Bulldogs on defense.

Fresno State’s momentum picked up towards the end taking their largest lead of the set of seven points. The Bulldogs took the second set with a score of 25-17 to tie up the match at one set a piece. 

In the third set of the match the Bulldogs started much like they did in the second set, scoring points and taking an early lead. 

Unfortunately for the ‘Dogs, the Broncos continued their game plan imilar to the previous set tying the Bulldogs and taking the lead from them.

Both teams kept up with each other, going toe-to-toe for every point, however the Bulldogs started to get away from the Broncos halfway through the set. 

Fresno State began to pull away, as the ‘Dogs managed the ball better towards the end of the set getting crucial points to win the set.

The Bulldogs took the third set with a five point lead winning it 25-20 and also taking the lead in the match 2-1.

Unlike the previous two sets, the Broncos came out with the early points in the fourth and took the lead. 

Santa Clara kept the lead with the Bulldogs trailing them by only two or three points throughout the first half of the set. 

Fresno State was not able to catch up to the Broncos losing the second set 25-21 and giving Santa Clara the tying set.

In the fifth and final set the Bulldogs took the first points of the set gaining good momentum from the beginning.

The Broncos, however were not about to give up cutting down the Bulldogs six point lead to only three. 

The back-and-forth continued and eventually the Broncos tied it up at 13 points each.

In the final plays of the match the Bulldogs saw a one point lead get reversed thanks to a challenge that went the Broncos way. 

But the Bulldogs tied it up in the very next play and after a video confirmation of the point the momentum seem to shift in the ‘Dogs way.

After an intense back-and-forth were both team had the match point several times, the Bulldogs grabbed the set victory 19-17 and took the match 3-2.

For the Bulldogs outside hitter Desiree Sukhov had 30 kills, 15 digs, and 73 total attempts, along with libero Reagan Leonard had 29 digs and 7 assists for the match.

The Bulldogs went 2-1 in the invitational improving their overall record to 4-2.

“We maintained great poised, we played really hard and executed really well down the stretch,” head coach Jonathan Winder said in a post match interview. “It was really tough…we learn what it didn’t work in the first set and we changed it. The players themselves figured out how to win.” 

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