A lesson learned for DSU volleyball

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Dixie State University left the D2 West Region Volleyball Showcase this weekend by dropping its first three games against top 25 teams and claimed its only victory against the tournament host.

In the first match, the Trailblazers fell to Western Washington University in straight sets.

DSU was able to keep the Vikings close through the first half of set one until WWU went on a 2-9 run to broaden the gap.    

After several more attempts by the Trailblazers to keep it close, the Vikings closed the door by taking a 1-0 lead with a 13-25 win.

After a hot start in set two by WWU, the Trailblazers tried to close the gap against the Vikings. After going back and forth for several points, the Vikings pulled away mid-set and went on to win 14-25.

“We had so many unforced errors offensively,” head coach Robyn Felder said. “We not only gave them points, but momentum as well.”

Set three proved to be the most competitive between the two schools. Facing a loss, DSU hung tight with WWU the whole set. The Vikings would go on to win by outing DSU 22-25 in the final set. 

“[WWU} is a top-10 team in the nation for a reason and if you play mediocre volleyball against them, you just can’t win games,” Felder said.

After losing their opening match Thursday to WWU, DSU fell short again in its second match to the University of Alaska Anchorage. 

Deja-vu was happening for the Trailblazers as they found themselves trailing right off the bat. After several attempts to chip away at the Seawolves’ lead, DSU caught the tail end of a UAA 3-11 run and lost set one, 14-25.

The Seawolves continued to show dominance in the match with a hot start to set two. As UAA attempted to pull away, the Trailblazers fought their way back into the match. The Seawolves showed resistance and took set two, 19-25.

After falling behind early, the Trailblazers showed their toughness by fighting back to steal a convincing set from UAA, 25-16.

“[The reason] we finally won that third game was because we started off strong and were able to come and set the pace at the beginning,” said senior middle blocker Lindsay Garrett, a communication major from St. George. 

The No. 12 ranked Seawolves were more than the Trailblazers could handle as they seized the final set, 12-25, and the match, 3-1. 

“Skill wise, I think we are all there,” Garrett said. “I think we are just lacking consistency right now.”

DSU looked to rebound in its second game Friday with a win against Cal State University of San Bernardino but ended up on the tail end once again of a 3-1 loss.

Though the Coyotes took set one 21-25 from DSU, the Trailblazers proved they were not going to go down without a fight. Neither team could pull away as the set proved to be a roller coaster. The largest run of the set was a 3-0 run by the Coyotes. 

Set two belonged to the Trailblazers as they took advantage of their .407 hitting percentage. DSU displayed a balanced attack with a 19-25 win despite the stubbornness shown by CSUSB.

The third set between the two teams seemed reminiscent of set one. Momentum continued to shift back and forth as the two teams battled. As one team took the lead, the other team found their way back. CSUS took set three from DSU, 21-25.

The Trailblazers eventually fell to the Coyotes in the final set, 12-25.

After three grueling losses, DSU volleyball entered the winner’s circle by taking down Sonoma State University in straight sets. 

“For the first time this weekend, we put it all together and that really helped us get our win,” said senior setter Kailey Frei, an elementary education major from Orem.

The Trailblazers came out swinging in the opening set of the match. They began with a 4-0 run and never relinquished the lead. DSU seized the momentum early by taking the opening set 25-18.

Set two began with a sluggish start for the Trailblazers when they were down early to the Wolves. Trailing by four nearly halfway through the set, DSU put together an 8-1 run to take back the lead. The Trailblazers held off a late push from SSU and took set two, 25-17.

The third and final set of the match was a hard fought contest between the two teams. Both teams slugged it out until the end, but it was a DSU 4-1 run to end the set that gave the Trailblazers the win, 25-21.

Frei said, “[We need to] remember that feeling of being in control [and winning] for conference play because we control our destiny.”

After finishing the tournament with a record of 1-3, the Trailblazers are 3-4 overall and look to start off conference play with a win against Point Loma in San Diego Friday at 7 p.m.