by Nicole Skow
Nevada traveled to the Mile High City this past weekend only to be dispatched by the another three foes. The University of Texas-El Paso and the University of San Francisco swept the Wolf Pack (3-7), but the Wolf Pack was able to steal a set from Denver before falling 3-1 to the Pioneers.
Nevada showed signs of growth from last year based on the way the sets ended. While the team was known for crumbling as the sets went on, this year’s squad only had three sets where it scored less than 20.
The Pack’s best game in the tournament was against the Pioneers. Behind freshman Madison Foley’s and sophomore Madison Morell’s 18 kills apiece and senior Tessa Lea’ea’s 11 kills, the match could have easily gone a different route. The Pack lost by five in the first set, won by 15 in the second and lost by two in the final two sets after pushing the game beyond 25 points.
“We had a lot of energy and we just went out and played,” Foley said. “We gave it our all. We were all gasping for air. We were exhausted. We worked really, really hard. There was so much energy and everything that it was just good volleyball. We gave everything we had.”
The Pack saw a lot of great performances come out of this weekend. Morell posted a career-high 18 kills while setter Lyndsey Anderson put up over 80 assists over the weekend. Her best game came from the Denver match where she tied a season best of 43 assists.
“Lyndsey had a great weekend and I think it’s just we’re all finally coming together and we’re able to put things down,” Morell said. “I think we have to have that connection on and off the court so we have to have the trust between us to know that whatever she puts up we’ll be able to hit and put down.”
Morell wasn’t the only one who had a breakout performance this weekend. Foley continued her consistent reign as an outsider hitter with 18 blocks. Of the 10 games played this season, she’s played in nine and recorded at least five kills in each one. Foley averages roughly seven kills a game.
“She’s just very confident and very consistent,” Morell said. “She’s played outside her whole life. She is a little thing and she’s a little girl, but she brings a lot to our program. She brings a lot of energy to the court. She’s a great addition to our team.”
After these past two weekends, Nevada is ready to come home and play in front of fans. Foley realizes that in order to move past the six-game losing streak the team will have to work hard this week on and off the court.
“We just need to practice hard and push each other at practice especially,” Foley said. “We’re so close to beating these teams. It’s just like a difference of a few points and if we can all just limit our errors I think we’ll be able to beat the teams soon. We just need to come out with energy every time we play. We just always need to be excited and go after it always.”
The Wolf Pack returns home to face Air Force and New Mexico Thursday and Saturday, respectively. The Falcons are 6-8, having lost two of three in the Lone Star Showdown this past weekend. The Lobos are 7-5 after a heart-breaking loss to Saint Mary’s University in five sets.
Nicole Skow can be reached at email@example.com.