Volleyball starts conference season strong

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Dixie State University volleyball began its month long home-stand with three conference matches last week. 

DSU opened up Pacific West Conference play with an exciting matchup against Notre Dame de Namur University Wednesday. 

The Storm dominated the first two sets, beating the Argonauts 25-17 and 25-14. NDNU flipped the script in the next two sets, winning 25-22 and 25-19 and forcing a decisive fifth set. 

The Argonauts came out hot, jumping out to an early 8-5 lead and looking poised to complete the comeback. The Red Storm had other plans. After a timeout, DSU went on a 10-1 run to fight off NDNU’s late push. 

DSU freshman outside hitter Taylor Duryea had 21 kills and seven digs in her home debut, junior Delayne Daniel posted another double-double with 19 kills and 18 digs, and senior middle blocker Makenzi Bird-Murphey finished with 12 kills, seven digs and a team-high five blocks. 

Bird-Murphey, a communication major from St. George, said that the win was a huge confidence booster for the team. 

“We haven’t done very well against [NDNU] for a long time,” Bird-Murphey said. “We were sick of losing, so this was big for us.” 

The Storm kept things rolling Saturday against PacWest bottom feeder Holy Names University. Dixie State downed the Hawks in dominating fashion by winning in consecutive sets, 25-16, 25-22 and 25-16. 

DSU finished with a hitting percentage of .299 while holding HNU to just .114. 

Duryea had another strong showing, posting a match-high 10 kills and a career-high hitting percentage of .600. Junior middle blocker Lindsay Jones added nine kills and four blocks in the victory. 

The Storm improved to .500 in conference play at 2-2 while dropping the Hawks to 1-10. 

DSU won its third straight match on Monday when they faced PacWest newcomers, the Concordia University Eagles. The 6-8 Eagles came out hot, jumping out to an early lead in the first set. DSU fought back and tied the game at 15 before pulling away to win the opener. 

The Storm outlasted CU in a tightly contested second set that was ended by a Duryea ace. After the Eagles dominated the third, DSU responded in the fourth set to avoid a decisive fifth. Dixie State recorded a season-high 91 kills in the victory, led by Duryea’s 11. 

“We showed just how good we can be this week,” said Duryea, a communication major from Logan. “Now, we need to do that all the time. This team is so fun to play with. We are going to do awesome things together.” 

DSU will attempt to extend its three game home winning-streak on Saturday at noon against Azusa Pacific University.