Rebels Open Season With Sweep Of The Titans
Aug 30, 2013
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - The Rebels opened up the 2013 volleyball season with a 3-0 sweep of the Cal State Fullerton Titans on Friday night on the first day of the UNLV Invitational played at the Cox Pavilion. The Scarlet & Gray were led to victory (26-24, 25-20, 25-18) by a double-double from Sekola Falemaka, who contributed match highs in kills (14) and digs (10).
The Rebels outhit the Titans by more than 100 points (.238 to .130) in the match. UNLV managed to hit .235 or better in the first (.294) and third sets (.235) with its lowest output - .182 - coming in the middle frame. Cal State Fullerton, on the other hand, had its best showing in the opening stanza (.265) before hitting below .100 the remaining two sets.
Overall, UNLV had nine more kills (41-32) off one more hitting attempt (101-100), while it committed two fewer errors (17-19).
"I thought we played as a well-balanced team tonight," said Rebel head coach Cindy Fredrick. "Once we shook the first-game jitters, I liked what I saw from our defense and blocking. It was probably one of our better jobs blocking this early in a season since I've been at UNLV. I think Sekola did a great job all the way around. She had a great match with her serving and hitting. Stephanie (Thelen) did a nice job of distributing the ball and keeping Cal State Fullerton's defense on its heels with her ability to dump the ball over the net. Ceannia (Kincade), for her first solid appearance as a Rebel, did a great job. She was probably our defensive player of the match with her great blocking and digs. Overall, it was a great performance by the entire team. It was really fun to see."
Cal State Fullerton opened up the contest with an early 3-0 lead that ballooned to as much as seven points at the 17-10 juncture. From that moment forward, UNLV began to whittle away at its deficit. The Rebels won eight of the following nine points to even the set at 18-all. The Titans fought back to stake themselves to three different two-point leads only to see the Rebels knot the score twice more.
After falling behind by two at the 23-21 mark, UNLV won three straight points to take its first lead of the match at 24-23. The advantage was short lived as the Titans evened the score at 24-all, but the Rebels got a kill from Katlin Winters to push back into the lead. An attacking error by Bre Moreland, her second in five points, gave UNLV a 1-0 lead after the opening set.
The second set was a more tightly contested one. It featured nine ties and six lead changes. The Rebels took control of the frame when Falemaka evened the score at 19-all with a kill and then gave the team the lead for good with a service ace. UNLV scored the next four points with Falemaka at the service line en route to a 25-20 set win.
UNLV made quick work of the third after snapping the only tie that came at 1-all. The Rebels built as much as a 10-point cushion (20-10) between themselves and the Titans down the stretch.
Besides throwing down a match-high 14 kills, Falemaka hit .370 and had a career-high five aces.
Stephanie Thelen made a return to the setter position against the Titans after a year of primarily playing as an outside hitter in 2012. Thelen dished out a match-high 28 assists and added six kills, three digs and one assisted blocks.
Defensively, UNLV's Allison Davies tied her teammate, Falemaka, in digs with 10.
At the net, Madeline Westman had a match-high six assisted blocks, while Kincade followed closely with four of her own.
Cal State Fullerton was led by Julie Consani, who had team-bests in both assists (26) and digs (nine), and Moreland's eight kills. Leah Best topped all Titan players with three total blocks, two of which were of the solo variety.
NOTES: With the win, UNLV is 11-12 overall in season openers and 12-11 in the first home match played in Las Vegas ... UNLV has won two straight season openers and four consecutive in Las Vegas ... With help from her six assisted blocks, Westman became only the second Rebel to notch 400 total blocks in her career as she joined Lauren Miramontes, who registered a program-high 426 from 2003-07 ... Westman's six assisted blocks moved her within seven one (344-343) of tying Miramontes in that career category ... Davies' 10 digs moved her within two (839 to 937) of tying Maria Aladjova (2004-07) for sixth place in that career category.