Rebels Look To Defend Home Against Wolf Pack
Sept. 25, 2006
LAS VEGAS -
First Serve: After putting up two valiant efforts against top-25 opponents, the Rebels dropped to 9-5 overall and 1-2 in Mountain West Conference play. UNLV will play in its final non-conference match on Monday against Nevada, Reno in the Cox Pavilion. The Wolf Pack (7-5) come in holding a three-match winning streak. The Rebels, on the other hand, are on a two-match slide following contests against then-#18 Utah and then-#16 BYU.
Scouting the Opponents:
Nevada, Reno Wolf Pack: 7-5/1-0 WAC 2005 Overall/Conference: 18-13/10-6 (4th)
UNLV vs. Utah & BYU Revisited: UNLV hosted two key Mountain West Conference opponents this past weekend with then-#18 Utah and then-#16 BYU coming to Las Vegas on Thursday and Saturday, respectively. The Rebels dropped both matches, but put up hard-fought efforts in each.
The Utes jumped out to a quick 1-0 win, but witnessed the Rebels fight for every point the remainder of the night. UNLV fought back to take game two to knot the score at 1-1. Utah rallied from a seven-point deficit in the third to take game three, before taking the match in the fourth. Utah won the match with scores of 30-16, 32-34, 30-28, 30-23.
Game two was the most exciting of the night as the teams were separated by at-most four points. UNLV held the biggest advantage at 23-19, but saw Utah rally back. The game was evened up on five occasions after the score was tied at 26-26. Down the stretch, each team has two chances apiece to close out the game by only needing one more point. Trailing 32-31, UNLV's Maria Aladjova came up big as she recorded three straight kills to close out the game.
Offensively, the Utes out hit the Rebels in percentage (.244 to .129), but had one less kill than the home squad (62-to-63). Utah hit a match-high .368 in game one, while UNLV came close to that mark in game two with a .364. The team that held the highest hitting percentage went on to win each game tonight.
UNLV was led by a 20-kill performance from Aladjova. She racked up her seventh double-double of the season by adding 15 digs. Jessica Walters and Brittani Lumsden joined Aladjova in the double-digit kill club when they notched 15 and 13, respectively. Melody Nua picked up a double-double, as well, with her combination of 32 assists and 11 digs. Jada Walker led all Rebels with 18 kills.
Against BYU, UNLV held 29-28 advantages in each of the first two games, but were unable to score the final point in either the first or second. BYU won both of those games by evening the score at 29-29 and winning the final two points for to go up 2-0.
Game three was similar to its two predecessors with the Rebels holding the 29-28 lead. BYU knotted the match at 29-29. The teams alternated the final six points with BYU scoring the final two to take the game, 33-31.
BYU out hit UNLV 62-to-52 in the kill department and .311 to .203 in hitting percentage. The Cougars hit a match-high .405 in their game two win and .341 in the third. Their lowest tally came in the first at .204. UNLV, on the other hand, hit its lowest in the first (.132), but rebounded with a .271 in the second and .214 in the third.
The Rebels were led offensively by Maria Aladjova's 16 kills and 11 digs for her eighth double-double of the season. Samantha Noland notched her first double-digit kill effort in her career, as she threw down 10, while hitting .421 (a match-high for players with five or more kills).
Playing The Ranked Tough: Thus far in 2006, the Rebels have been defeated on five occasions. When the season started the team had only one ranked team, Utah was 24th. Now that we are into the sixth week, the Rebels have four teams that are rank in the top 25 or receiving votes. Washington State is the lone squad not to be considered for the rankings.
Of these five squads they hold a combined 53-14 record and a 79% winning percentage. BYU (12-1) leads all of the Rebel opponets, as they are ranked 16th. Utah (11-2) comes in at #18. Cal Poly (9-4) is 20th, while Long Beach State (9-3) is receiving votes. Washington State is 12-4 and is tied for the third-most wins in the highly touted Pac-10.