Nevada volleyball comes back for victory
Appeal News Service
RENO – For the second straight match, the University of Nevada volleyball team dug itself out of a hole.
Backed by timely blocking in the fourth and fifth games, the Wolf Pack rallied from another 2-1 deficit to beat Idaho 30-24, 25-30, 19-30, 30-24 and 15-8 Saturday night before 592 fans at the Virginia Street Gym.
“When we lost game 3, I thought here we go again to game 5,” Nevada coach Devin Scruggs said. “I’ll take ugly and a win anytime. We have some things to work on.”
Nevada (7-2 WAC, 13-8 overall) will be on the road next week at Louisiana Tech on Thursday and New Mexico State on Saturday. Idaho dropped to 5-2 in the WAC, 6-13 overall, after being in third place before Saturday’s contest.
“We have to get better. That same match on the road will go the other way,” Scruggs said about Nevada’s third five-game match in a row.
Teal Ericson led the Wolf Pack with 21 kills and Tristin Johnson dished out 51 assists. Karly Sipherd, who did not start the first game, came in and revved her team with 5.5 total blocks and five kills.
Sipherd said not starting game 1 was a sign she needed to prove herself to Scruggs and the team.
“She knew that it would fire me up,” Sipherd said about her coach. “It works but I don’t like it.”
The junior middle blocker felt she was tuned in during the final two games.
“I felt like I was zoned in and I wanted to make a statement,” Sipherd added. “I like getting kills and hitting people in the face. With blocks, your denying someone. It’s the best feeling.”
Teammate Allison Hernandez, who helped during the rally with her outside hitting, said she Nevada needs to finish off their opponents sooner.
“We don’t want to do that,” she said about the five-game matches. “We want to win in 3.”
Hernandez said it felt comfortable switching from a defensive mode to an offensive one. Normally, the sophomore Sacramento native racks up double figures in digs and is limited on the attacks. Hernandez had nine digs and six kills against the Vandals.
“I’m like the third string outside hitter,” Hernandez added. “When Sipherd and I come in, there’s a lot more intensity in the gym.”
Both Sipherd and Hernandez agreed there is a difference in performance when the team is on an emotional high backed up by a lively crowd.
“Sipherd does pick us up a lot in a good way,” Hernandez said. “She’s pretty good at being level headed.”
Sipherd favors the momemtum swinging in the Wolf Pack’s direction after they lost the second and third games.
“It’s a huge momentum. We have a lot of players that are like that too,” she said about her teammates being vocal. “It’s always a big difference when they (crowd) get into it. It’s a huge energy. When we play at home, we have to win. We have no excuse to lose.”