By L.D. Dennis

Nevada volleyball spent Thursday night doing something that it hasn’t been able to do this season: celebrating a win. It was the Pack’s first conference victory of the well-aged season, and it was achieved against an athletic San Diego State.

The Pack ended two unfavorable matches with this five-set win over the Aztecs. In addition, it ended its season-high 17-match losing streak, snapping the ugly streak of 29 straight loses in Mountain West conference play.

The team on the court was fresh and energized. The Wolf Pack was cool, calm and collected during all phases of the match. The intensity was evident through the gym as these athletes realized what they were truly capable of.

Set scores read 22-25, 26-24, 25-23, 20-25 and 15-6. Neither team ran away with it, as this was a battle of student-athletes who both needed and wanted a win.

Tessa  Lea’ea had a match-high 19 kills, while senior Grace Anxo  ended the night with 14 of her own. Madison Morrell, defensive specialist Kara Kasser and Sam Willoughby each added 10.

Lyndsey Anderson set up 26 assists for the Battle Born. Dana Holt surpassed 1,100 career assists after the senior standout recorded 23 that night.

There was no lone wolf on this November night. Nevada took the court as a pack, with multiple players contributing, and left with an earned victory.

“This year especially I’ve realized I need to work on my selfishness,” said sophomore Kinsey Minter. “At times I can focus on what I’m doing and not what the team is doing.”

On Saturday came the game every Nevada athlete, no matter the sport, circles on their calendars. They took on school nemesis UNLV; a match that turned out to be nowhere near in our favor losing in straight sets 25-15, 25-17, and 25-17.

The Pack is a team that generally fights hard for one another, but instead it looked as if this was a player-on-player pre-season scrimmage. And they knew it.

“We were prepared for our Thursday match; just didn’t show up today,” said senior Dana Holt.

“We worked hard in practice, we were competitive, played games against each other, just the competitiveness did not show up today,” Minter said.

Wolf Pack head coach Ruth Lawanson who said that by comparison Thursday and Saturday was “Two different teams,” which her players agreed with.

“The week of practice was actually pretty good,” Lawanson said.

Nevada is a team that knows it has potential and has to acknowledge its faults in order to improve those flaws.

“ Our weakness is our team being afraid to make mistakes,” Holt said. “Definitely our greatest strength is the chemistry we have on and off the court. You can’t teach that.”

Nevada’s coach thinks they have one quality that is a double-edged sword.

“They get along so well they’re not willing to say the tough things to each other,” Lawanson said.

L.D. Dennis can be reached at