After a perfect 3-0 weekend at the Holiday Inn Express Invitational, Nevada Volleyball has now completed two of its four non-conference tournaments so far this season. The Pack is now 5-1 on the season already equally half of their win total from last season.
The toughest match of the weekend was the opener against Virginia. The Wolf Pack beat the Cavaliers in a full five sets. The first two sets were even as the teams were even at 1 set apiece. Nevada took command in the third set with a 25-8 victory. The fourth set was competitive but Nevada failed to win leaving the match down to a winner-take-all fifth set. Virginia was in full force trying to get its first win of the season, but the Wolf Pack proved to be too much for them as they never trailed during the fifth set. Jamila Minor — who was the Wolf Pack Student Athlete of the Week from Aug. 20 to Aug. 27 — continued her success as her 20 kills were instrumental in the win.
The second match of the weekend for the Pack was against host school Northern Illinois. The Wolf Pack swept the Huskies in straight sets by the score of 25-20, 25-23, 25-22. Sophomore Kayla Afoa broke her personal best in kills with 18, her previous best of 16 kills coming in the match hours earlier against Virginia. Afoa also led the Wolf Pack in digs with 17. Junior Dalyn Burns put up her second consecutive 40-assist match in the win. Jamila Minor also recorded 14 kills and 12 digs in the match.
The final match of the weekend was against Northern Kentucky and resulted in the Wolf Pack recording another sweep — 25-16, 25-22, 28-26. Once again, Afoa and Burns were influential in the victory. Afoa recorded her third consecutive double-double with 14 kills, 16 digs and two aces. Burns recorded 38 assists and 17 digs. The two earned All-Tournament team honors after having career weekends.
Afoa’s performances were so impressive this weekend that she was named the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week.
“We made huge strides embracing our identity,” fourth-year head coach Lee Nelson said of his Wolf Pack’s performances over the weekend. Like most coaches, he was not completely satisfied with just winning stating that the team still has a lot to work on.
The next three games of the 11 game road trip to open the season will be during the Sacramento State Tournament that takes place Sept. 7 and 8. Nevada’s first opponent will be host Sacramento State on Friday night, and Seattle University and UC Riverside the next day.
Darion Strugs can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @dstrugs.