Rebels Joust Win Away From Knights
Aug. 28, 2010
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - The UNLV Rebels (1-2) won their first match of the 2010 season in come-from-behind, five-set fashion over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (0-3) Saturday afternoon in the Walter Pyramid at the Long Beach State Baden Classic. UNLV claimed the match by a 3-2 margin with set scores of 25-21, 23-25, 22-25, 25-21, 15-9.
The Rebels jumped out to 1-0 lead after they claimed the first set, but watched as Rutgers rallied for consecutive wins and a quick 2-1 advantage through three frames of action. UNLV rebounded with a win in the fourth to send the match to a fifth and final set, which ultimately the Rebels won.
Rutgers jumped out to a quick 3-1 lead in the fifth before watching UNLV turn things around. The Rebels knotted the score up at 3-3 before the teams began alternating points up to an 8-8 tie. Rutgers led briefly at the 8-7 juncture before watching UNLV rattle off three straight points for a quick 10-8 turnaround. The Scarlet Knights were then forced to call a timeout to halt its opponent's offense. The timeout briefly helped as Rutgers scored the first point out of the break, but then witnessed UNLV score five straight to claim the set and match with a 15-9 score in the final stanza.
Those final five points were all off of the hands of Rebel players. Sara Nehf put UNLV up 11-9 with her career-best 21st kill, while Nile Te'o served up back-to-back aces to add more breathing. A quick timeout by Rutgers did nothing to cool the hot hands, as Sekola Falemaka and Madeline Westman connected on consecutive kills to claim victory.
UNLV hit at a .286 clip (66-24-147) for the match and no worse than .276 in each set they won. They opened with the .276 effort in the first before following up with a .189 (second) and .129 (third) in the two set losses. The offense came to life in the fourth with a staggering .571, as they threw down 18 kills to only two errors in 22 attempts.
The Rebels got double-doubles from Kelsey Keeler and Amanda Alles. Keeler combined 15 kills and 13 digs for her second career double-double, while Alles dished out a match-high and career-best tying 50 assists and paired them with 10 digs. Each player reached personal bests in their dig figures.
As previously noted, Nehf racked up 21 kills and hit a team-best .357 with three block assists, two digs and one assist.
Falemaka rounded out the trio of Rebels with 15 or more kills with the 15 she added to the mix. She hit at a .333 clip and added five digs and two assisted blocks.
Kela Lau Hee topped all defenders in the match with 20 digs. She was one of four Rebels to reach double figures in the defensive category, as she was joined by Nile Te'o's 16 digs and those contributed by Keeler and Alles.
Westman was a force at the net with her six kills, nine assisted blocks and five digs.
Rutgers, on the other hand, hit .224 in the five-setter. The Scarlet Knights improved in each set as the match progressed from a .100 in the first to .220 in the second to .225 in the third and .367 in the fourth. They hit a nice .261 in the third, but only had six kills to no errors in 23 swings.
The Scarlet Knights were led by a double-double from Stephanie Zielinkski, who had with 47 assists and 16 digs. Both figures were team-highs. The team had four players reach double digits in kills with Emma Chrystal and Caitlin Saxton topping out at 14 apiece.
UNLV returns Friday, Sept. 3 (4:30 pm), in Corvallis, Ore., against the #12 Michigan Wolverines at Oregon State's Active Ankle Challenge. The Rebels will then play Oregon State and Florida Gulf Coast on Saturday.