Nevada volleyball falls to Washington State | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada volleyball falls to Washington State

THOMAS RANSON
Appeal News Service

RENO – Frustrated is probably the best word to describe how Nevada volleyball coach Devin Scruggs is feeling right now.

“It’s the small things. One of the assistant coaches put it well, that we need to cross our ts and dot our is,” Scruggs said. “I think we looked out of shape which is not acceptable at this level.”

After winning its first home match of the season earlier in the day, the Wolf Pack dropped its second game of the AT&T Invitational Saturday night at the Virginia Street Gym. Washington State knocked off Nevada in straight sets – 30-28, 30-28 and 30-24 – before 320 fans to finish second in the tournament with a 2-1 record. Nevada finished 1-2 with its lone win coming against Hofstra in four games.

UNLV won the tournament with a 3-0 record and placed three Rebels on the all-tournament team. Nevada’s Teal Ericson, who had 31 kills against Hofstra, was named to the team.

Two freshmen, however, led Nevada’s offensive attack against Washington State.

Lindsay Baldwin posted a team-high 13 kills, and Kyle Harrington added 10. Ericson and senior Karly Sipherd each had nine kills, while senior Ashley Miller recorded a double-double with 41 assists and 12 digs. Junior Allison Hernandez had a match-high 21 digs.

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“It’s hard after coming off such a high last weekend beating Pepperdine,” said Baldwin, whose club is at 3-4 on the season. “We just need to work on certain rotations, get stronger and know how to finish it.”

Nevada had leads late in each of the first and second games but couldn’t pull away.

“We’re a little bummed out to get so far and not pull it out,” Hernandez said. “We get stuck in the same rotations, and it’s hard to get out of it. We just need to work on our rotations.”

The Wolf Pack led the majority of the first game with Sipherd and Baldwin anchoring the offensive effort. Having Ericson hit -.286 in the game didn’t help Nevada after her earlier performance.

Nevada saw a 27-25 lead quickly dwindle after Brittany Johnson recorded two kills in the Cougars’ next three points. Maureen Perez’s serve in the net tied the game at 28, but Johnson nailed a kill followed by an ace for the win. Johnson led both teams with 18 kills and also had 11 digs.

The second game mirrored the first with the exception of Washington State coming back to score the last five points.

After trailing by seven early in the game, Nevada took its first lead, 26-25, on Jackie Albright’s error. Jorgan Staker and Baldwin blocked the next attack, and Baldwin recorded a kill to give Nevada a 28-25 lead.

Perez dumped in the next point, Tara West posted a kill, and Johnson tied the game at 28 on a kill. Baldwin’s attack landed outside, and Staker was blocked for the final point.

Errors terminated the Wolf Pack’s attack scheme in the third game. Nevada had 37 total errors, 14 more than Washington State, and hit an abysmal .060.

“When Teal and Sipherd are not in the front row, that’s where we are not able to side out,” Scruggs said.

The Wolf Pack will have its work cut out when the Western Athletic Conference season begins Thursday. Nevada hosts Louisiana Tech and then takes on New Mexico State on Saturday.

“We know what we’ll have to work on,” Scruggs said. “We’ll work on it with other players getting confidence. Players have to step up. We’re struggling.”