Losing streak continues, ‘Dogs down by Cowgirls

Fresno State Jocelyn Rodriguez dives for the ball during a match against Wyoming at the Save Mart Center on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019. (Larry Valenzuela/ The Collegian)

After a tough loss against No. 13 Colorado State on Thursday night, the Fresno State Bulldogs volleyball team looked to end its four-game losing streak against the Wyoming Cowgirls on Saturday afternoon at the Save Mart Center.

The Bulldogs were defeated by the Cowgirls 3-1, extending their losing streak to five games in a row.

Before the game, former Bulldog and Olympic bronze medal winner Ruth Lawason was honored with a ceremony unveiling her No. 15 jersey. Lawason’s No. 15 was retired in 1985 and now will be on display in the rafters of the Save Mart Center. 

The first set saw the Bulldogs trailing from the start. Wyoming took advantage of the Bulldogs’ miss opportunities to increase its lead and keep the ‘Dogs back. For most of the set, the Bulldogs trailed by more than four points. But toward the end of the set, the Bulldogs got to within one point of the Cowgirls. 

The match got more competitive, with both the Bulldogs and the Cowgirls fighting for every point in order to take the first set. The Cowgirls took the first set of the match with a score of 25-22, taking an early advantage. 

In the second set, the Bulldogs were able to take a four point lead thanks to some great serves by outside hitter Amila Thompson. The Bulldogs’ defense was able to stop the attacks by the Cowgirls and generate points in the Bulldogs’ favor. 

Wyoming would regain the lead from Fresno State, but the Bulldogs kept it close, making the set very competitive. In the middle of the set, it became a back-and-forth battle between the Cowgirls and the Bulldogs, with both teams taking and losing the lead.

The Cowgirls took the last five points of the game, shutting down the Bulldogs and winning the set 25-21. 

For the third set, the Bulldogs came out with more enthusiasm and quickly took the lead from the Cowgirls. However, the Cowgirls pressed on and got the lead back and kept it throughout the first half of the set.

The Bulldogs tied the set thanks to outside hitter Desiree Sukhov’s success serving and outside hitter Amaria Kelly’s crucial kill. The Bulldogs took advantage of the momentum that was on their side, regaining the lead and extending it by two points.

Adding to their lead, the Bulldogs took control of the match, taking advantage of errors made by the Cowgirls and committing no errors of their own. Fresno State took one back from the Cowgirls, winning the set 25-16 and keeping its hopes for a comeback alive. 

In the fourth set, Wyoming quickly took control, gaining a five point lead on the Bulldogs, who couldn’t keep up with the Cowgirls’ offense. After a timeout by Bulldogs head coach Jonathan Winder, the ‘Dogs seemed to pick up the pace and eventually regained control of the set. 

The Bulldogs tied it all up and much like the previous set, it became a very competitive set where both teams took and lost the lead. 

Wyoming got away from the Bulldogs toward the end of the set, gaining a four point lead and taking away any momentum from the ‘Dogs. The Cowgirls’ lead proved to be too much for the Bulldogs, winning the set 25-19 and the match 3-1. 

After the match, Winder said his team team played better than they had the last few weeks but were still not very consistent.

“We’re still trying to figure out how to play good quality consistent volleyball over the course of the whole match,” Winder said. “Tonight we did some things better than we had in the past. We served pretty well, and we hit the ball pretty well … those are two things we have been struggling to do.”

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