Rebels Open Mountain West Play With A Win
Sept. 21, 2013
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - The UNLV Rebels (5-5 overall, 1-0 Mountain West) opened up their Mountain West season with a come-from-behind 3-1 win (22-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-20) over the San Diego State Aztecs (5-6, 0-1) on Saturday afternoon at the Cox Pavilion. UNLV was paced by double-doubles from Sekola Falemaka and Daryn Glenn in a victory that snapped a two-match losing streak to SDSU.
The Rebels outhit the Aztecs by 68 points (.205 to .137), while they registered four more kills (55-51) and five fewer errors (24-29) off 10 less swings (151-161). UNLV's offense stayed within a hitting efficiency range of .175 and .231 throughout the match. SDSU, on the other hand, had its best effort in the third frame with a .211 showing, while its attackers managed .128 or lower averages in the remaining sets.
"The team showed a lot of great play all around. Madeline (Westman) and Katlin (Winters) put up some good blocking and Sekola and Daryn hit very smart today," said Rebel head coach Cindy Fredrick. "I really liked the defensive effort on everyone's part. This was a good win over a very good team."
In the opening stanza, UNLV jumped out to two different four-point leads at the 9-5 and 11-7 junctures in the set before SDSU fought back to tie things up at 13-all. The teams would then see the score knotted up seven more times with the final stalemate occurring at 20-all. Unfortunately, the Aztecs won five of the final seven points to claim the opening frame 25-22.
The second set was a see-saw affair that featured 11 ties and three lead changes before UNLV took control following a 12-all tie with seven straight points - six of which came off attacking miscues by SDSU. The seven-point cushion was whittled down to three on multiple occasions, but the Rebels ultimately took the set by four, 25-21.
The Aztecs jumped out to a short-lived 4-0 lead after the intermission only to see the Rebels even things up at 5-all. Midway through the set, SDSU had a number of three-point leads, but UNLV rallied eventually to pull even. Down by three at the 16-13 mark, Falemaka nailed down one of her match-high 20 kills to spark a five-point swing. She then went to the service line and served up back-to-back aces after her teammate Madeline Westman had pulled the Scarlet & Gray within one with a kill of her own. Despite the Aztecs tying the score two more times, the Rebels never relinquished the lead en route to a 25-22 third-set win.
The fourth and final stanza had 11 lead changes and five ties, but they all occurred in the first 28 points of the set. With the score knotted at 14-all, UNLV took control of the set after SDSU's Halle Aiken faltered on a serve. The Rebels then maintained a three-to-five point cushion the remainder of the way.
Besides leading all players in kills with 20, Falemaka had 14 digs to achieve her fifth double-double of the year and the 24th of her career. She also added two assists to go along with the two aces she compiled in the third set.
Glenn managed to throw down 16 kills and 12 digs to notch her third double-double of the year and 14th of her career.
Stephanie Thelen had 45 assists in the win, which tied SDSU's Johnna Fouch's output for the match high. Thelen also added seven digs, five assisted blocks and two kills.
In all, UNLV had three players rack up 10 or more digs with Allison Davies' 22 leading the way.
"Both Allison and Daryn passed well for us today, which kept out offense more spread," noted Fredrick.
Winters led the Rebel block with six assisted stuffs, while Kincade and Thelen had five apiece. Westman chipped in with four of her own.
The Aztecs were led by a double-double from Fouch, who had 13 digs to couple with her 45 assists. Michelle Waber and Summer Nash were two key recipients of Fouch's setting, as they had 15 and 12 kills, respectively, in the loss. On the defensive side of the net, Courtney Vaccarello led the team with 20 digs.
NOTES: With help from her 50 attempts, Falemaka moved into 10th place in UNLV's career record book in total attempts with 1,949 ... Falemaka surpassed Christel Eves, who played for UNLV from 1996-99 ... With help from her four assisted blocks, Westman moved within seven total blocks of tying Lauren Miramontes (2003-07) for the top spot in the career record book ... Saturday's match with SDSU was only the third of the season to go more than three sets and only the second to end in four ... UNLV is now 2-4 on the year when it drops the first set - both wins were in four sets (Virginia on Sept. 14 and today vs. SDSU) ... UNLV has won four straight Mountain West openers and improved to 10-5 all-time in the first match of a MW season ... UNLV has won four straight Mountain West home openers and improved to 9-6 all-time in the first home match of an MW season.