Nevada volleyball falls to UNLV | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada volleyball falls to UNLV

THOMAS RANSON
Appeal News Service

RENO – This one’s going to burn “red” for a while.

After a 2-1 road trip last weekend, the University of Nevada volleyball team stayed winless at the Virginia Street Gym, losing to intrastate rival UNLV Friday night.

“We lost to them last year. It’s always a sour taste when you lose to anybody,” Nevada coach Devin Scruggs said.

The Runnin’ Rebels came from behind to beat the Wolf Pack, 26-30, 30-17, 30-27 and 30-16, before 614 fans in the first round of the AT&T Invitational.

“We don’t communicate when our emotion is down,” said Teal Ericson, who posted a match-high 24 kills. “We made a lot of stupid errors. I remember 20 of them off the top of my head. Everyone of them we made were elementary mistakes.”

Nevada (2-3) plays Hofstra at noon today and then faces Washington State at 7 p.m. UNLV (6-1) takes on Washington State at 10 a.m. and Hofstra at 4:30 p.m.

Karly Sipherd helped out the Nevada front line with a 12-kill effort, and Ashley Miller dished out 41 assists and had 11 digs for a double-double. Allison Hernandez led the team with 17 digs.

“We couldn’t put balls away in key moments,” Sipherd said. “We just got to finish. It’s draining that we can’t put balls away.”

Sipherd, though, agreed with Ericson about a lack of communication, which led to the Wolf Pack losing its home opener to Pacific two weeks ago.

“Especially when we’re getting down on a couple of points,” Sipherd pointed out. “There’s only so much you can do.”

Four players recorded double digits in kills for the Runnin’ Rebels with Maria Aladjova posting a double-double with 18 kills and 23 digs. Jessica Walters led the team with 20 kills, Lauren Miramontes added 17, and Samantha Noland had 10.

Inability to block at the right time hurt Nevada’s chances in upending its rival. The Wolf Pack, though, out-blocked the Runnin’ Rebels, 13-11.

“With our blocking we couldn’t stop the outsides,” Scruggs said. “We just got stuck in the same rotation and couldn’t put the ball away.”

With UNLV beating Nevada for the second straight year, both the players and Scruggs knew beforehand how good of team their rival was.

“We knew UNLV is a super strong team,” Scruggs said.

Ericson said the loss was one she didn’t want for her last season. However, she pointed out it’s no different than playing a different team on the schedule.

“Especially on my senior year, it’s not fun,” the Tahoe City native said. “There are other matches on other days.”

Hofstra, which won its conference last season, took Washington State to four games on Friday, and Scruggs expects both of today’s matches to be similar to UNLV.

“They’re both strong. Both are very good teams,” she said. “They’re going to be tough. Hofstra won its conference, and Washington State is a Pac-10 team. It’s going to be a battle.”