By Brandon Cruz
The University of Nevada, Reno, women’s volleyball team suffered a devastating loss Thursday, Sept. 22, at the hands of the Utah State Aggies. Even with double-digit kills from Madison Foley, Madison Morell and Ayla Fresenius, the Pack was unable to muster a win through the five-set thriller.
Nevada’s first set against Utah State was the team’s set to win from the start. Thanks to an impressive kill by Kathryn Groenweghe and a miscommunication by the Aggies, the Wolf Pack would go up 2-0 at the beginning. The Pack would go on to hold the lead for the majority of set one. As the set was coming to a close, Utah State found its second wind, going on a 4-0 run, taking its first lead of the set 23-22. The two teams would go on to have three lead changes, until Nevada eventually edged out the Aggies, 27-25.
Set two would also start with the Pack having the early edge. After going up 2-1, Nevada would lose the lead for a stretch of the match, eventually tying the game at 11-11 and taking the lead the following play. The Pack’s resilience would be tested as the Aggies would regain the lead at 19-18. Just when it appeared as if Utah State would pull away, Nevada stole back its lead at 23-22 and once again at 24-23. Unfortunately for the Wolf Pack, the team’s efforts to win this set would be futile, as the Pack ultimately lost 28-26. Set two kept Nevada’s home crowd guessing the entire time.
Utah State used the momentum it garnered from its second set to fuel a third-set victory over Nevada. The Wolf Pack would once again take an early lead behind two kills from Foley and Morell. The Aggies would go on to take the lead after the two tied at 3-3, holding the lead until the Wolf Pack found a way to even the score. This set would be much like the previous two. There was a plethora of lead changes, but Utah State would get the final say, defeating Nevada 25-22.
Down 2-1, it was time for Nevada to either sink or swim. The Wolf Pack opened up the fourth set with an impressive scoring display, taking an early lead on the Aggies by seven points. Nevertheless, Nevada was undoubtedly facing a worthy contender, as the Aggies climbed out of the hole they placed themselves in, tying the game at 16-16. Utah State expanded on its lead quickly, taking the set to 23-20. Just when everyone thought the set was over, Nevada made a miraculous five-point run, to take the set 25-23. The two Mountain West foes were now at a 2-2 stalemate going into a much anticipated set five.
Set five began with an error at the hands of Foley, allowing Utah State to get on the board first. The two teams would continue to trade blows, as the Pack gained the advantage at 4-3. Sadly Nevada would only be able to hold the lead for a couple of minutes, as the Aggies found their rhythm, taking the lead at 6-5 and keeping it for the remainder of the set. Utah State would finish the set with a win, defeating Nevada 15-8. The Wolf Pack is now 9-4 and 0-1 in conference play. The Pack’s next game will take place in Colorado Springs on Sept. 29, when they will take on the Air Force Falcons.
Brandon Cruz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.