Rebels Leave Fresno With First Place In Tow
Oct. 19, 2012
FRESNO, Calif. (UNLVRebels.com) - The UNLV volleyball team (14-7 overall, 6-2 Mountain West) closed out the first half of the Mountain West regular season with a 3-1 road win against the Fresno State Bulldogs (12-8, 5-3 MW) in Fresno, Calif., on Friday night. By virtue of its 6-2 record in MW action, UNLV will make the turn for the second half of league play with at least a share of first place. The Rebels won the match - played at the Save Mart Center - in come-from-behind fashion with set scores of 13-25, 25-18, 25-22, 27-25.
UNLV, who registered 11 less kills (46-57) and 18 fewer swings (142-160), was out-hit .162 to .169 in the match. The Rebels opened up with only 13 points - six of which were off kills - and a substandard -.032 hitting efficiency. Each subsequent frame saw the Scarlet & Gray record better hitting efforts than its opponent, and all were .159 or better. The Bulldogs, on the other hand, started off strong with a staggering .455 clip in the first before its offense progressively got worse set by set. They hit .205 in the second before a .098 (third set) and a .000 (fourth) in the final two stanzas.
A key factor in the Rebels victory was their defense at the net, as UNLV out-blocked FS 14.0 to 6.5. Madeline Westman led the squad in blocks with seven (one solo), while Katlin Winters and Stephanie Thelen put back six blocks (all assisted) apiece.
"We played a terrific match tonight," said head coach Cindy Fredrick. "I think our blocking was a huge key to winning. I liked our ability to come back strong after losing the first set."
The match did not begin the way the Rebels would have liked it to, as the home squad never relinquished the lead after it went ahead 1-0. FS slowly built its lead to six points (11-5) only to witness UNLV pull within three at the 12-9 juncture. Unfortunately, that was the closest the Rebels would get to their opponent, as FS eventually won the set by 12 (25-13).
The remaining three sets wound up going to the team that got to the 17-point mark first - which was UNLV. The Rebels took ownership of the second stanza after an 11-all tie, while the third set took a little bit longer to claim. In the third, UNLV went ahead for good after breaking a 15-all tie, but FS evened things up one last time at 20-all. The Rebels wound up winning three straight and five of the final seven points to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
The fourth and final set featured more ties and lead changes than the previous three sets combined. UNLV opened up one four-point lead (6-2) and two three-point lead (5-2 and 15-12) in the opening stages of the frame. After FS evened things up at 15-all, the set featured seven ties, six of which had a lead change follow immediately afterwards. Both squad squandered a set-point opportunity apiece - UNLV at 24-23 and FS at 25-24 - before the Rebels took the final lead change after a 25-all tie. UNLV then used an attacking error by the Bulldogs' Marissa Brand before a kill from Daryn Glenn to win the set and match.
Kinsey Caldwell and Sekola Falemaka tallied double-doubles in the win for UNLV, as the former did so with a dig-assist combination to the latter's kill-dig showing. Caldwell, who contributed three assisted blocks and one ace, dished out a team-best 37 assists to go along with a match-high-tying 20 digs. Falemaka threw down 13 kills and dug out 12 attacks to go along with two blocks (one solo), two aces and one assist.
Glenn led the Rebels in kills with 14, which also tied for the most by a player in the match. Glen chipped insix digs, two assisted blocks and one assist.
Besides the 20 and 12 digs from Caldwell and Falemaka, respectively, UNLV had one other reach double figures with Allison Davies recording 15.
The Bulldogs got double-doubles from Korrin Wilde (13 kills/10 digs) and Barbara Alcantara (42 assists/20 digs). Overall, FS had four players reach double digits in kills, and it was led by 14 from Marissa Brand. Alcantara topped the team in both assists and digs.
UNLV returns to action on Oct. 25 at 7:00 pm MT (6:00 pm PT) in Albuquerque against the New Mexico Lobos.
NOTES: The 2012 squad ranks as the fourth fastest to reach the 14-win mark behind the 1998 and 2007 editions that only needed 17 matches and the '06 team that needed 20 ... The 2012 team is tied with the '98 (WAC) and '07 (MW) squads for the best start to a conference season with each beginning 6-2 ... Allison Davies moved into 10th place in UNLV's all-time record book for digs with 722 ... Madeline Westman moved into third place in UNLV's all-time record book for assisted blocks with 318 ... Westman also moved into seventh place in the single-season record book with 99 assisted blocks and 10th in total blocks with 115.