Written by: Jake Gardner
The Nevada women’s volleyball team improved to 5-4 after a weekend at the Cal Tournament. On Friday, the Wolf Pack split against Tennessee State and Utah Tech.
The first game was against Tennessee State. The first set was all Tennessee State as the Tigers started the day with a three-point lead. Nevada was only able to tie Tennessee State at 3-3. After that, Tennessee State held on to their lead to close the first set 25-18.
In the second set, Tennessee State would start the set with a 7-0 run. However, the run proved to be not safe as the Pack started to come back. Momentum started to change when Kayla Afoa got a kill to put Nevada up 13-6 in the second set off an assist by Andrea Alcaraz. Nevada never looked back and took the second set from the Tigers 25-15.
Nevada continued their momentum heading into the third set. The Pack took the lead early with a kill by Nicanora Clarke. After that, the Pack held on to win the third set 25-18.
The fourth set saw Tennessee State start quickly. The Tigers capitalized off an error by Afoa. Tennessee State would hold on to the lead to make it 4-2 Tigers. The Wolf Pack started to change the tempo to take the lead off a kill by Afoa to make the score 9-12 in favor of Tennessee State. The Wolf Pack kept their energy to win the set 25-18 to take the match 3-1 over Tennessee State.
Offensively, both Kayla Afoa and Gabby McLaughlin led Nevada with 13 and 14 kills respectively. Setter Andrea Alcaraz was the leader of the defensive side with 18 digs. Libero Kia Kaohelaulii had 16 digs.
The second game saw the Wolf Pack take on the Utah Tech Trail Blazers. In the first set, Utah Tech started on a run right away. Chayse Daugherty was credited with a kill off an error by Nicanora Clarke. The Wolf Pack tied the game 17-17 off an error by Talia Bridgett. After that, Utah Tech took the lead back to close the first set off 25-22.
Nevada took the lead in the second set 10-7. The Trail Blazers then went on to tie the score at 13-13. Utah Tech switched the momentum to their side to win the set 25-21.
In the third set, the Pack started strong. The Trail Blazers tied the game at 6-6 but the Pack took the lead back after a kill from Sia Liilii on an assist by Andrea Alcaraz. Nevada held on to take the third set 25-20.
Energy was on Nevada’s side heading into the fourth set. The Wolf Pack started fast and never looked back to take the fourth set 25-18 to send this game to a deciding set.
The fifth and final set saw Utah Tech take over after getting a kill by Isabelle Iosua to lead 5-2. Nevada was not able to switch the score as the Trailblazers won the final set 15-9 to end the game 3-2.
The offense was once again led by Kayla Afoa and Gabby McLaughlin. Afoa had 23 kills and McLaughlin would end up with 18. McLaughlin also led the defensive side with 23 digs in the game. Leading the blocks for Nevada was Jordan Schwartz with five.
The final game of the Cal Tournament for Nevada was on Saturday when the Nevada Wolf Pack took on the host team, the California Golden Bears.
Cal started early to take a 3-0 lead in the first set over the Pack. The Golden Bears were in control until Nevada tied the game 15-15 after a kill by Gabby McLaughlin. Nevada went on to take the first set 25-22.
The second set was all California after taking a 16-11 lead over the Pack. The Golden Bears kept their lead up to close the set off 25-14.
In the third set, both teams scored back-and-forth. Nevada had the first lead until the score was 13-10. That is when Cal tied the game 13-13 after a kill by Mikayla Hayden off an assist by Annalea Maeder. The game was still tied until 21-21 when the Wolf Pack would go on a four-set run to take the set 25-22.
Nevada kept the momentum alive to start the fourth set with a 3-1 lead. After the Golden Bears tied the set 11-11, the Wolf Pack took over to win the fourth set 25-19 to take the win in the match 3-1.
Outside hitter Gabby McLaughlin was the offensive leader for Nevada with 14 kills. Setter Andrea Alcaraz had 29 assists on the night. Libero Kia Kaohelaulii would lead the Pack defensively with 19 digs.
Nevada ended up going 2-1 in the Cal Tournament and had three players selected to the All-Tournament team. Those three players were outside hitter Kayla Afoa, setter Andrea Alcaraz, and libero Kia Kaohelaulii.
Up next, the Nevada women’s volleyball team goes to their final tournament in Oklahoma. Nevada plays the host team, the Oklahoma Sooners, on Sept. 16. On Sept. 17, the Wolf Pack will play Texas State.
Jake Gardner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush