By Brandon Cruz
The Wolf Pack women’s volleyball team became road warriors this weekend, as the team defeated both the Air Force Falcons and Boise State Broncos in just four sets. After suffering a devastating loss to Mountain West foe Utah State last weekend, Nevada rallied to get two conference victories.
NEVADA VS AIR FORCE
Nevada found its way to Colorado Springs, Colorado, to take on the Air Force Falcons on Sept. 29. The plane ride home was full of contentment and elation after the Pack defeated the Falcons, notching its first Mountain West Conference win of the year. In terms of kills, only Madison Morell and Kathryn Groenweghe broke the double-digit barrier for the team, with the majority of assists coming from Lyndsey Anderson.
The first set of the series started off strong for the Falcons, as they put up three unanswered points in quick succession. Just when it seemed as if Air Force would take the lead and run with it, Nevada switched into its highest gear. The Pack took the lead from Air Force at 11-10 and would proceed to keep it until winning the set 25-21.
Set two began with Nevada coming out swinging. The Pack received two quick kills at the hands of Shayla Hoeft and Groenweghe. Air Force quickly responded with two kills of their own and another point coming off a Nevada error. The set would then begin to emulate tug-of-war as the two teams continued to trade the lead. The Falcons would eventually secure a sizable lead at 15-12. The set ended at 25-21, Air Force.
With the two teams locked in a stalemate, the third set looked to be a turning point. Air Force would receive the first point of the set, a lucky point thanks to a service error from Nevada. After a series of kills from the Falcons, the Pack found itself in a 5-2 deficit. Just when everyone thought the Falcons were going to soar to victory, the Wolf Pack surrounded its prey and went in for the kill. Nevada rattled off a six-point run, taking the lead from Air Force for the remainder of the set. After facing adversity with an iron fist, the Wolf Pack won the set 25-18.
Now that the Pack was in the lead once again, the team looked to put its foe out of its misery in set four. The Wolf Pack began the set as if the team caught a whiff of raw meat, going up 8-2 on the Falcons. Although Air Force tried its hardest to fight back, Nevada kept a luxurious eight-point lead for the majority of the set, finishing off the Falcons 25-17.
NEVADA VS BOISE STATE
Just one day after its trip to Colorado, the Nevada women’s volleyball team made its way to Boise, Idaho, to take on the Boise State Broncos. After four hardfought sets, the Wolf Pack would add yet another conference win to the books, defeating the Boise State Broncos 4-1.
Set one would be the closest set of the match, as it featured a whopping 12 ties and five lead changes. The Wolf Pack found itself in the hot seat early, as the home team opened up a 5-2 gap. Nevada quickly climbed out of its early hole, tying the set at 6-6. After a series of ties, the Pack held the lead until Boise State knotted it up at 14 apiece. The set continued to be a back-and-forth affair, with Nevada narrowly edging out Boise State 25-23.
Set two started off strong for the Wolf Pack, as the team took an early 3-0 lead over the Broncos. Nevada would hold the lead for a great deal of time until the team finally faltered, allowing Boise State to take the lead at 11-10. The Pack would have a late-set surge to put the team over the Broncos, winning 25-19.
With a 2-0 lead over the Broncos, Nevada looked to finish off its Mountain West rival and take home a sweep. Pack fans would have loved to see such a sight, but Boise State had different plans. The Pack would again take an early lead over the Broncos. Nevada held the lead for the majority of the set, until the Broncos dug deep within themselves to take the lead at 21-20. The Broncos would then go on a four-point run, defeating Nevada 25-20.
What was once almost a sweep had just become a possible comeback scenario for the Boise State Broncos. The fourth set featured a dominating performance from the Broncos as they led the Pack by nine points in the later stages. But the Broncos got too confident and blew their sizable lead and the Wolf Pack eventually tied it up at 24-24. The match went a bit farther than expected until Nevada finally put the nail in Boise State’s coffin, defeating them 28-26.
Brandon Cruz can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @Brandon_Cruz23.