Rebels Unable To Knock Off MW Newcomer
Oct. 26, 2013
LOGAN, Utah (UNLVRebels.com) - The UNLV volleyball team suffered its first loss - 3-1 - on the road in Mountain West play on Saturday night in Logan, Utah, against the Utah State Aggies. The Rebels opened up the match with a win in the first set before the Aggies reeled off three straight victories to win the contest that consisted of 26-24, 22-25, 21-25, 18-25 scores. The defeat dropped UNLV's overall record to 12-8, while USU improved to 14-7. The match signified the conclusion of the first half of MW action with the Rebels and Aggies tied in second along with New Mexico and Fresno State with identical 7-3 league marks.
USU, a newcomer to the conference after playing the last eight years in the WAC, outhit UNLV by 69 points (.242-.173) with help from an advantage in kills (65-56) despite committing one less error (25-26) off eight fewer attacks (165-173). The home side hit no worse than .237 (second set) in any frame, although it topped out at .250 in the fourth. The Rebels kicked off the affair with a .277 effort, but only managed to hit .200 (third) once more in the match.
"This was a difficult road trip," said Rebel head coach Cindy Fredrick. "We didn't have an answer for Utah State's right side attack and we simply had too many crucial hitting errors. Our passing was good, but our hitters didn't terminate."
The contest featured 29 tied scores and 13 lead changes with a great majority of both occurring in the opening stanza with the teams combined to tie 17 times and swap ownership of the lead on eight occasions. The remainder of the match witnessed only four ties in the second, seven in the third and one in the fourth. The lead changed hands twice in the second and three times in the third.
In the first, UNLV managed to put a three-point cushion between itself and USU three times after the set had been tied nine times. The Rebels' largest lead came at the 19-16 juncture, but three straight scores by the Aggies produced another tie - the first of six in the waning moments of the frame. In fact, USU had a set-point opportunity at 24-23, but three straight kills by the Scarlet & Gray erased the threat and handed the visitors a 1-0 lead.
USU began the second on fire with five consecutive points only to see UNLV counter and steal the momentum back. The Rebels lead by as much as five - 21-17 - before the Aggies rattled off seven of the final eight points to even the score at 1-all.
The third began similar to the second, but in UNLV's favor. The Rebels struck out with two six-point leads at 8-2 and 9-3, but USU fought back to eventually tie the set score at 14-all. Three more ties would follow with the final one being forced by the Aggies to begin a 5-0 run. UNLV scored twice to cut the deficit to three at 24-21, but couldn't stay alive as USU got the 25th point off the next serve.
The final set went to the Aggies after they broke open a 1-all tie with six straight points. They never looked back en route to a pair of 11-point leads before eventually winning it 25-18.
UNLV's offense was paced by a trio of players with double digits in kills. Daryn Glenn led the squad with a team-high 14 kills to go along with seven digs, two assisted blocks and one ace. Sekola Falemaka and Julia Topor each had 11 kills, while the former picked up her 11th double-double of the year with help from 13 digs to the latter's four.
Stephanie Thelen dished out 50 of the team's 54 assists to go along with six digs, five assisted blocks, two kills and one ace.
Besides Falemaka's dig tally, the Rebels got a team-high 19 from Allison Davies.
USU got double-doubles from Tumua Etimani (12k, 12d) and Rachel Orr (14k, 15d). Elle Brainard threw down a match-high 21 kills. Kaitlyn Vanhoff was instrumental on both sides of the net for the Aggies with a 10-kill, seven assisted-block night.
The Rebels return to action on Halloween night (Thursday, Oct. 31) with a home match in the Cox Pavilion against the New Mexico Lobos. Two days later (Saturday, Nov. 2), the Scarlet & Gray will welcome the Air Force Falcons to Las Vegas. Both contests are scheduled for 7:00 pm first serves.