By MATT DEARMAN
Tech’s volleyball team opened Western Athletic Conference
play last week with a two-game road trip, suffering losses at the University of
Nevada and Utah State University to drop to 12-4 on the season, and 0-2 in the
Against Utah State (9-6, 2-0 WAC) on Sept. 24, the Lady Techsters struggled to put together an offense, as the Aggies took control early and never gave it up, winning the
match in three games with scores of 30-24, 30-14 and 30-19.
“It wasn’t a pretty match,” Tech head coach Heather Mazeitis said.
“We played good defensively, but struggled to turn that
defense into offensive production [like we have been doing.]”
In the first game of the night, the Techsters got off to a strong start by jumping
out to a 5-2 lead.
The Aggies rallied from that
point, however, to tie it up, and took the lead two points later.
The Lady Techsters trailed
close behind throughout the game, but were never able to get back on top.
Offense proved to be the deciding factor in the next
game, as Utah State tallied 15 kills to the Techsters
Tech also committed 11 errors and recorded a dismal -.083
hitting percentage in the loss.
The struggle offensively carried into game three for the Techsters, who converted just eight kills with seven errors
to end the night in a 3-0 sweep for the Aggies.
Leading the Tech defense in the match was freshman Meghan
Haas with 11 digs, followed by junior Ambra Hayes
with six and freshman Brittney Nakamura with five.
Hayes led the Techster offense with
10 kills, setter Jill Walker added to the effort with 13 assists on the day.
Prior to facing off with Utah State,
the Techsters fell to the Nevada Wolf Pack (6-5, 1-0
WAC) in five games, ending Tech’s six-match win streak.
“It’s tough to play a team like that right out of the
chute,” Mazeitis said of Nevada who, during the
preseason, was picked to finish just behind conference powerhouse Hawaii.
“To go five games against a team like that showed what
our team can do.”
Tech came out slow against the Wolf Pack, recording just
seven kills with 11 errors for a -.111 hitting percentage the opening game,
which Nevada won 30-19.
From that point, however, the Techsters
found their rhythm and bounced back to win games two and three with scores of
Tech committed just nine errors in the second and third
games while forcing 23 from the Wolf Pack, as the Techsters
went on top two games to one.
Nevada answered Tech’s rally by winning the fourth game
30-21 to even the count, and then followed with a 15-7 victory in the fifth to
claim the match.
Hayes was Tech’s leading offensive producer in the match
with 15 kills, followed by junior Anielle Da Silva with 13 and sophomore Shannon Phillips with nine.
Defensively, the Techsters were
headed by Haas and Walker, with 12 digs and 11 digs, respectively. Walker also
tallied 37 assists in the match.
Tech will return home tonight when they play host to the
No. 8 ranked nationally and defending conference champion University of Hawaii
in the Thomas Assembly Center at 7 p.m.
“Hawaii is a great team,” Mazeitis
said of the match-up, “It’s always fun to have them here. We are looking
forward to it.”