Nevada volleyball beats Utah State | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada volleyball beats Utah State

THOMAS RANSON
Appeal News Service

RENO – It’s just not the same without Karly Sipherd on the floor.

“She’s a spit fire. She gets us all excited and she’s a good killer and good blocker,” said Allison Hernandez, libero for the University of Nevada volleyball team.

Recovering from a concussion she suffered last weekend in Hawaii, Sipherd hardly showed any effects and came back to help the Wolf Pack pick up an important league win.

Nevada managed to find an escape route from the best blocking team in the Western Athletic Conference and beat Utah State 30-22, 30-27 and 30-23 in front of 656 fans at the Virginia Street Gym.

“I got rocked twice in the Hawaii game and got whiplashed, but my symptoms went away,” said Sipherd, who was cleared Saturday morning to lead the team in blocks with four assists and one solo. “I knew it was going to be a little different. My blocking was on so I was able to contribute. We’re not going to let anyone walk over us in our gym.”

Nevada, winners of four of its last five matches, improved to 6-3 in the WAC, 9-7 overall, while Utah State dropped to 6-3 and 9-9 to force a tie for third place in the conference.

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“That’s a big win. I’m really pleased with our effort,” Nevada coach Devin Scruggs said. “We did what we needed to do tonight and we played hard.”

Teal Ericson and Kylie Harrington each powered 14 kills for the Wolf Pack, while Sipherd added nine. Ashley Miller dished out 39 assists and Hernandez had a match-high 16 digs.

“They were a great blocking team,” Ericson said. “They were probably one of the best blocking teams we’ve seen this year.”

Ericson said the reason for the Aggies’ blocking success is their formation of three players up front. The key to solving it was hitting more off-speed kills and tips. Nevada, however, won the blocking battle, 10-9.5.

“They play a men’s game. They triple-blocked us quite a few times,” Ericson added. “That’s not common in a women’s game. Their defenders played back and that’s why we got a lot of points off tips.”

Amanda Nielson led the Aggies with 10 kills but had 11 errors, and Danielle Taylor had nine kills and six block assists. Chelsea Fowles recorded 23 assists and Christine Morrill had 10 digs.

Utah State’s blocking peaked in the second game when Nevada had a 23-17 lead. The Aggies roared back with a 9-0 run to take a 26-23 lead.

“They were out of sorts and struggled on the offensive end and went away from what was working,” Scruggs said. “You don’t get blocked when you tip over them.”

Sipherd and Harrington were each blocked twice during the run, but Miller’s one-handed dump and Ericson’s kill off the lights tied the game at 27. Ericson hit two kills in the next three points for the win.

“I couldn’t wait to get back in. I was going to go in next, but we couldn’t get the side out,” said Ericson, who sat out the entire Utah State run.

Nevada travels to New Mexico State and Louisiana Tech next week before returning home to face Idaho on Oct. 25.