Nevada falls to No. 18 San Diego | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada falls to No. 18 San Diego

THOMAS RANSON
Appeal News Service

Nevada gave its best shot in knocking off a Top 25 volleyball team but fell short to San Diego in its first match of the Sand’s Regency/SBC Tournament Friday night at the Virginia Street Gym.

The 18th ranked Toreros defeated the Lady Pack in straight games – 30-28, 30-28 and 31-29 – in front of 436 fans.

Nevada (0-2) takes on Eastern Kentucky at noon today and 13th ranked UCLA at 7 p.m.

Lady Pack coach Devin Scruggs was pleased with the improvement from playing San Diego a year ago. Scruggs, though, said Nevada needs to sustain leads late in the game.

“We got to find a way to finish them,” Scruggs said. “We just need to figure out a way to beat them (San Diego). There’s things we need to get better at and we should.”

Salaia Salave’a, a senior middle blocker who re-injured her ankle last weekend, was expected to miss the entire tournament. Through hard work and training, Salave’a came back in Friday’s match after being told Monday she wouldn’t be able to play.

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“The first thing that I heard was ice, in a boot and crutches,” Salave’a said. “Come Monday, it was 99.9 percent you’re not going to play.”

Salave’a credited the training staff for her quick return and made it a goal not to miss this weekend’s action.

“They know I can play in pain,” Salave’a said.

“She worked very very hard to come back,” Scruggs said.

Nevada had to battle from behind in the third game and managed to take the lead late in the game.

With Nevada trailing by five points, Carly Sorensen’s kill sparked a 7-2 run and Lindsay Holda served an ace to tie the game at 15.

Both teams traded kills until San Diego launched one out to give Nevada its first lead of the game. Sorensen and Teal Ericson powered consecutive kills and Karly Sipherd pummeled one down the middle of the court to give the Lady Pack its biggest lead at three.

The Toreros came back to tie the game at 24, but Nevada had game point with a 29-28 lead. Sorensen’s kill into the net tied the game and Jackie Bernardin skimmed an ace off the top of the net catching the Lady Pack off guard for the win.

Nevada responded to a five-point deficit in the second game beginning with Holda’s pass falling over the net in front of four confused Toreros.

Sorensen fired a kill off Salave’a’s off-balance dig to tie the game at 17 and Tristin Johnson’s one-handed dump gave the Lady Pack their first lead in the game.

Sorensen, a 2003 Fallon grad, led her teammates with 14 kills and fellow classmate, Johnson (formally Adams), recorded 37 assists.

In her first two years, injuries plagued Sorensen from competing early in the season, but the junior outside hitter said it’s happy to be healthy.

“It definitely does,” she said. “It feels very good being very healthy.”

With thunderous cheering from the Nevada fans, Johnson immediately followed with an ace and Ericson drove a kill to put Nevada ahead by two. Ericson finished the match with 12 kills.

San Diego came back again on kills from Jackie Bernardin and Moira McCarthy to tie the game at 25 and then took the lead on Laurel Abrahamson’s kill into the open court.

Bernardin, who led all players with 16 kills, capped off the comeback with a hard kill deflected out. McCarthy added 12 kills as did Christie Dawson.

Nevada built a lead early in the first game, but saw it slowly diminish midway through.

The Toreros spotted a soft kill between three Nevada players to take a 21-19 lead and recorded its biggest lead of the game, 27-23, on Nevada’s return into the net.

The Lady Pack came within a point after Salave’a’s block, but Dawson powered in a game-winning kill.

Salave’a ended the night with nine kills and led Nevada with three solo blocks.