Nevada volleyball dominates Fresno State | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada volleyball dominates Fresno State

THOMAS RANSON
Appeal News Service
RENO - They're not the same group of ladies fans saw before they hit the road for a three-week trip last mo

After going 3-2 over the last three weeks on the road, the University of Nevada volleyball team bounced back into the win column after soundly beating Fresno State, 30-26, 30-20 and 30-20, Thursday night before 378 fans at the Virginia Street Gym.

“We haven’t played well at the Virginia Street Gym like we have in the past,” said Nevada coach Devin Scruggs, whose team improved to 3-4 at home. “It was good to take it back.”

Nevada (5-3 Western Athletic Conference, 8-7) has won three of its last four matches and will host Utah State Saturday at 7 p.m. for third place in the WAC standings. Fresno State, though, dropped to 2-7 in the WAC, 4-15 overall.

With a sloppy loss at Hawaii last week still lingering like a bad headache, Scruggs was satisfied her team responded well against the Bulldogs.

“We played very poorly in Hawaii and we needed to play well tonight,” Scruggs said.

Senior Teal Ericson lit up the floor with 24 kills (.500 attack percentage), and freshman Kylie Harrington had 10 kills (.471).

Ericson agreed with Scruggs about Hawaii and said the loss motivated the team against Fresno State.

“We have lost worse to Hawaii in the past,” the North Tahoe grad said. “When Hawaii comes here, we’ll show them that wasn’t the team we could be.”

From the first several points of the first game, the Wolf Pack dominated the Bulldogs the entire night. Nevada out-hit Fresno State 52-33 and did .132 better on the attack percentage by shooting .235.

“We weren’t afraid of this team,” Ericson said. “We go into games too often that we’re afraid to lose. Each person has to play the best she can.”

Senior Ashley Miller dished out 42 assists and had 10 digs for her sixth double-double of the season and first of the month. Junior Allison Hernandez led in digs with 17 and Sage Aune, replacing the injured Karly Sipherd, led with four block assists.

“It felt really good. Today we felt like we were in rhythm,” Miller said. “It’s great to be back at home and have the crowd.”

Nevada had to play without one of its seniors and leading blockers. Sipherd received a concussion against Hawaii when Jamie Houston nailed her with a kill three feet away. Her return is unknown.

“We don’t know when she will be back,” Scruggs said. “She got hit harder than anyone I’ve seen in my career.”

Without Sipherd, the 11th-year coach resorted to her underclassmen to help fill the hole. Sophomore Aune played the majority of the match and freshmen Nicole Links and Harrington also had ample playing time.

“We don’t have a lot of front row options,” Scruggs said. “Kylie did a nice job coming in and being an offensive threat.”

FREE CLINIC

The Wolf Pack coaching staff will hold a free clinic for children eighth grade and under on Saturday from 3:30 to 4:45 p.m. at the Virginia Street Gym. The staff will conduct sessions covering all aspects of the game, and children participating in the clinic are invited to stay for the Utah State match.