Nevada volleyball falls short in upset bid | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada volleyball falls short in upset bid

Dave Price

RENO – This could be described as a moral victory. In the end, however, the University of Nevada volleyball team fell just short in its bid to spring the biggest upset in the program’s history against Stanford on Saturday night.

After dropping the first two sets, the Wolf Pack took No. 6 Stanford to the wire before finally falling in the final match of the SBC/Sands Regency Volleyball Tournament. Stanford won the match 30-25, 30-28, 28-30, 26-30, 15-11 before an announced crowd of 885 at the Virginia Street Gym.

The Cardinal finished second in the tournament with a 2-1 record. Earlier on Saturday, Saint Mary’s knocked off Stanford in five games 30-25, 30-22, 27-30, 28-30, 15-8. The championship trophy went to Saint Mary’s (3-0), a team that has five starters back from a team that had a school-record 20 wins and qualified for the NCAA Tournament last year.

Nevada (1-2) finished third in the tournament with a 1-2 record, including a 30-26, 30-26, 30-28 win over Utah State Saturday afternoon. The Wolf Pack later nearly pulled off their biggest win since beating No. 7 Pacific during the 2001 season.

“We knew we had a chance coming in,” said Tristin Adams, the Wolf Pack’s sophomore setter from Fallon. “That’s the way we’re capable of playing, and we could have played better. We shouldn’t have lost that second game.”

Nevada held leads of 14-5, 21-14 and 24-19 in the second game before the Cardinal rallied back to win.

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The Wolf Pack started fast again in the third game, only they didn’t let this one get away as Salave’a Salaia, Karly Sipherd and Teal Ericson combined for 11 kills. Salaia had seven kills, the last coming off a quick middle set from Adams to close the game out.

The difference could be seen in the hitting percentage column, which showed the Wolf Pack hit .149 in game one, -.042 in game two and .341 in game three. The percentage dropped to .152 in game four, but Stanford’s dipped to .075.

“Our passing was excellent,” said Adams, who handed out 49 assists in the match. “Lindsay (Holda) and Christine (Harms) did a great job of getting the ball to me, which gives me a lot more options (for the set).”

The Wolf Pack jumped out to leads of 13-3 and 18-7 in that fourth game. They increased the spread to 26-18 after Salaia put down a block, moments after libero Holda made a diving save in the corner, followed by a kill by Sipherd.

Salaia finished the night with a match-high 27 kills to go with 11 digs. Sipherd had 14 kills and Ericson had 12 kills. Both are freshman (Ericson is a North Tahoe High graduate).

“I’m so proud of our team, especially the freshmen. They really stepped up and played well the whole tournament,” said Carly Sorensen, a sophomore outside hitter from Fallon. “This was a good tournament for us. Playing against Pac-10 teams, but this will definitely help us get ready for conference and it will help our ranking.”

Ogonna Nnamani had 25 kills and Kristin Richards 24 for Stanford. Jennifer Hucke, a graduate of Churchill County High in Fallon, had four kills while playing with a hamstring injury.

Notes … Saint Mary’s had five players with double digit kills in its win over Stanford, led by Lindsey Bogason with 15. Friday night, the Wolf Pack dropped its season opener 3-0 to Saint Mary’s College. The Gaels won 30-19, 30-25, and 30-28.

Contact Dave Price at dprice@nevadaappeal.com or call 881-1214.

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