Rebels Lose Heartbreaker In Five Sets On Senior Day|
Nov. 23, 2013
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - The UNLV volleyball team suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 defeat on "Senior Day" to the Boise State Broncos on Saturday afternoon at the Cox Pavilion. UNLV opened the match with a 25-19 win in the first set before it dropped the second and third by 25-18 and 30-28 scores, respectively. The Rebels fought back and won the fourth with ease - 25-16 - before Boise State broke an 8-all tie in the fifth set with a 7-4 run to close out the contest, 15-12.
With the win, the Broncos improve to 13-16 on the year and 7-12 in the Mountain West, while UNLV drops to 16-12 and 11-7.
UNLV outhit BSU by 65 points (.270-.205) despite attempting five fewer swings (185-190). The Rebels, who threw down nine more kills (74-65) and committed two less errors (24-26), registered four hitting efficiencies of .256 (first set) or better in the match. In fact, after hitting a set-low .186 in the third stanza, the Scarlet & Gray collected .371 and .350 efforts in the subsequent periods. The Broncos, on the other hand, opened up with a lowly .000 before smashing a match-best .385 in the second. They stayed within a range of .194 (fourth) to .381 (fifth) the remainder of the affair.
The Rebels were paced by double-doubles from Sekola Falemaka and Stephanie Thelen in the duos final home outing. Just two days after hitting a then-personal best of 21 kills against Utah State, Falemaka collected 23 vs. the Broncos off a team-best .373 hitting average. She paired those kills with 16 digs to notch her 16th double-double of the year and 36th of her career. Thelen surpassed her previous high of 56 assists, which had been achieved on three occasions, by six with 62 to go along with 12 digs for her sixth double-double of the year and 24th of her career.
Besides the kill output from Falemaka, UNLV got double-digit kill efforts from Madeline Westman and Julia Topor. The former had 16 kills and six total blocks (two solo), while the latter tallied 12 kills, three assists and three assisted blocks. Both players also contributed two digs.
Allison Davies led all players in the match with a season-high 29 digs.
"I think overall, we missed a lot of our blocking assignments," said Rebel head coach Cindy Fredrick. "Everybody was supposed to be keyed into one specific person and we didn't do it. We paid for that. We paid for that a lot. People were blocking in the wrong positions. We got to stay with the game plan, and we didn't do that tonight. We missed a lot of serves and hit a lot of balls out. We didn't take advantage of the fact that they did a lot of perimeter defense and we should've been tipping the ball, but we didn't do that either."
The match featured eight lead changes and 26 tied scores with the majority of both figures - six lead changes and 18 ties - occurring in the third set.
After each squad traded set victories before the intermission, UNLV and BSU went toe-to-toe in the third. The Rebels worked their way to five set-point opportunities, but the Broncos answered the bell each time. The visitors canceled UNLV's final set-point chance with a kill by Brittany Reardon to pull even at 28-all. A Rebel attacking error and a kill by Alyssa Gammel followed Reardon's point to give BSU a 2-1 lead.
UNLV forced the fifth set after winning the fourth with ease and carried its momentum into the final period. The Rebels built up three different two-point leads - with the last occurring at the 6-4 juncture - before the Broncos rattled off a 4-0 run to turn their deficit into a one-point edge. The teams traded the next three points to pull even at 8-all, but a 2-0 push by BSU was enough to put a slim margin between the squads. The Broncos never looked back en route to the 15-12 win that secured the match, 3-2.
The Broncos got double-doubles from Gammel (19 kills/19 digs) and Casey Rose (31 assists/12 digs). Gammel's kills were a team-high, while Casey Rose led the team in assists (31) and Hannah Hubbard topped the squad in digs (22). Reardon and Taylor Murphy chipped in six assisted blocks apiece.
The Rebels hit the road for their final two contests of the season next week. UNLV will open up the trip to the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains on Wednesday, Nov. 27, in Laramie, Wyo., against Wyoming. Two days later, on Friday, Nov. 29, they will play #10 Colorado State in Fort Collins, Colo. Both matches are set for 7:00 pm MT (6:00 pm PT) first serves.
NOTES: By virtue of playing in all five sets against Boise State, Westman moved into a first-place tie with Melody Nua (2005-08) with 442 sets played ... Westman also moved into fourth place (solely) in matches played (115) and eighth in total attempts (2,342) ... Davies moved into second place in digs with 1,281 ... Falemaka moved into fifth in digs with 929 and seventh in kills (912).