Volleyball struggles on the road

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Dixie State University volleyball traveled to Ellensburg, Washington, this weekend to take on some stiff competition in non-conference play. 

Two of the four teams the Storm would face are nationally ranked, with Western Washington University at No. 19 and the University of Alaska-Anchorage at No. 14. The Storm would also be pinned up against Central Washington University and Northwest Nazarene University. 

“We had to fight for every point we got,” Murphy said. “We played some really good teams and learned some valuable lessons that will prepare us for the rest of the season.” 

DSU began its weekend with a matchup against the Western Washington Vikings. The Storm led late in each of the first two sets, but couldn’t hold on to its bid for an upset. WWU outscored Dixie State 10-1 down the stretch in the first set to secure the comeback. 

The second set was much of the same, and Western Washington came out on top after dominating the third. Dixie State had a season low 32 kills and had only a .144 hitting percentage in the sweep. 

On the second day of the crossover tournament, DSU would have a rematch with Northwest Nazarene. The Storm beat NNU in last year’s NCAA tournament, in a match when the Crusaders were the top-ranked team in the country. 

NNU took the first set convincingly, but DSU bounced back and never trailed in the second, winning 25-18. Dixie State went on win the match in three consecutive sets by dominating after the opening set loss. 

Junior outside hitter Delayne Daniel posted her second double-double of the season in the match with 17 kills and 10 digs. DSU posted a season high 13 blocks in the victory. 

The Storm then faced the host team Central Washington, looking to get to .500 on the season. The Wildcats spoiled DSU’s efforts to do so by dominating the first set on its way to a 3-1 victory. Dixie State squeaked out a 26-24 victory in the third set, but couldn’t continue as it dropped the fourth 25-22. 

Looking to finish off the tournament on a good note, DSU went to battle with nationally ranked No. 14 Alaska-Anchorage. UAA however, would prove to be too much for the Storm to handle, sweeping DSU in consecutive sets. 

Daniel picked up another double-double for the Storm senior middle-blocker Makenzi Bird-Murphey led the team with three blocks and eight kills. 

“We had to fight for every point we got,” Bird-Murphey said. “We played some really good teams and learned some valuable lessons that will prepare us for the rest of the season.” 

DSU Head Coach Robyn Felder said she was hopeful for a better record on the trip, but was not disappointed with the teams performance. 

“The girls played really well,” Felder said. “We were facing some of the top teams in the country and we played right there with them. We are a young team and we’ll find a way to finish games as the season goes on.” 

Dixie State, now standing at 3-5 on the season, will head to California this weekend to begin conference play against California Baptist University and Point Loma before returning home to face Notre Dame De Namur Sept. 23 at 6 p.m.