Rebels Kennel Up The 'Dogs In Fresno
Nov. 7, 2013
FRESNO, Calif. (UNLVRebels.com) - The UNLV volleyball team avenged an October home loss to the Fresno State Bulldogs with its 3-1, come-from-behind victory on the road at the Save Mart Center on Thursday night. After losing the first set by eight points (25-17), UNLV evened the score at 1-all when it suppressed the hosts in a quick 25-10 win in the subsequent frame before the intermission. The Rebels kept the pedal down after the break with identical 25-21 victories in the third and fourth stanzas.
With the win, UNLV pulls even in the Mountain West standings with Fresno State with identical 9-4 records. The Rebels and Bulldogs are joined in second place with New Mexico and Utah State after both won on Thursday, as well. For the year, the Scarlet & Gray improves to 14-9, while FS drops to 15-10.
The Rebels outhit the Bulldogs by 85 points (.272-.187) despite having three fewer kills and attempting 24 more attacks (147-171). UNLV's hitting efficiency was greatly aided by its hitters only committing 13 errors - the fewest by the team this season in a four- or five-set match. The Rebels tallied an astonishing .355 hitting average in the second set, while maintaining a .222 (third set) or better in the other stanzas. FS, on the other hand, opened up with a .357 clip, but followed that up with a paltry -.071 in the second. They hit .217 and .244 in the third and fourth, respectively.
"Tonight was a great offensive and defensive match for us," said Rebel head coach Cindy Fredrick. "We only had 13 hitting errors, which is really good for us. Stephanie (Thelen) did an excellent job of getting the ball to our middles and Madeline (Westman) and Katlin (Winters) delivered all night. Defensively, we played so well with everyone getting in some great digs. I'm really proud of our Rebels four playing such a well-balanced match."
The match featured 13 lead changes and 30 tied scores with 11 of the former and 26 of the latter taking place in the third and fourth frames. The teams played even on four occasions in the first, while swapping the lead twice. After intermission, the two squads tied things up 13 times apiece in both sets and alternated the lead on five occasions in the third and six more in the fourth.
In the first, the Bulldogs trailed by one - 4-3 - before Holly Franks served up back-to-back aces to flip the score in the host's favor before building up four different eight-point leads, including the final one at 25-17.
The Rebels regrouped and came out on fire in the second to knot the match at 1-all. UNLV struck out to a 3-0 lead only to see the cushion pushed to double figures - 13-10 - 13 points later. The road team's lead dropped below 10 points once before it eventually won by 15.
The third and fourth sets played out similar with the two squads separated by a small margin before the Rebels ran away with the wins. Trailing by one, in the third, at the 18-17 juncture, UNLV got three straight kills from Westman, Julia Topor and Daryn Glenn and an attack error by FS to turn a deficit into a four-point lead en route to a 25-21 win. The fourth was decided a bit earlier with the Rebels gaining possession after snapping a 15-all tie with consecutive kills by Winters and Sekola Falemaka along the way to a match victory.
UNLV was paced by double-doubles from Falemaka and Stephanie Thelen. The former achieved the feat - the 13th of the season and 32nd of her career - with a combination of 13 kills and 14 digs, while adding a career-best six total blocks (all assisted). The latter coupled a match-high 42 assists with 13 digs for her fifth double-double of the year and 19th of her career. Thelen also added three assisted blocks.
Westman amassed a match-high .552 hitting efficiency to go along with a team-high 16 kills. On the defensive side of the net, she tied for the team lead in blocks with six (all assisted).
Winters was instrumental on both offensively and defensively for the Rebels, as well. She threw down 11 kills on a .435 night of hitting and chipped in five assisted blocks.
The Rebels return to action on Saturday afternoon at San Jose State. First serve is set for 2:00 pm.
NOTES: Tonight's match was the third instance - all on the road - that the Rebels had five players tally double digits in digs ... Earlier this year, UNLV had five with 10 or more digs against Southern Utah (Sept. 24) and New Mexico (Oct. 12) ... With help from the four-set match, Westman moved into third place in UNLV's career record book with 421 sets played ... Westman moved into third place in career hitting efficiency with a .289 average ... With help from 13 kills, Falemaka moved into 10th place in career kills (838) ... Falemaka moved into fifth in career attempts (2,470).