The final stretch of the regular season ended on the road against two of the bottom three teams in the Mountain West Conference standings.
Tuesday at San Jose State
UNLV Volleyball began the final road stretch at San Jose State (12-18, 3-14 CONF), which a year ago was one of the top teams in the Mountain West Conference. The Rebels convincingly defeated the Spartans with a 3-0 victory (25-21, 25-14, 25-18).
Team effort was the name of the game for UNLV. The Rebels came back from a 17-12 deficit and completed a 6-0 unanswered run to tie the first set. The squad collectively pieced together several points to gain the edge and victory in the first set, 25-21.
Momentum carried over as UNLV displayed a dominant second set. The minimization of errors, one total in the second set, fueled a blowout win for the middle set, 25-14. The Rebels capitalized on the near-perfect set with a match-high 17 team kills and a .516 hitting percentage.
The good times continued to roll forward as the defensive presence shined in the third and final set. San Jose State only recorded seven team kills in the last set, as UNLV more than doubled their opponent with 15 team kills. The Rebels completed the sweep in the final matchup with the Spartans of the season, 25-18.
UNLV led all major categories through all three sets.
Junior setter Olivia Mikkelsen produced a strong performance with 24 assists, which led the match and was Mikkelsen’s season-high.
The middle blockers for UNLV dominated as both redshirt senior Jordyn Freeman and junior Dakota Quinlan each recorded 10 kills in the match.
Saturday at San Diego State
The final match of the regular season concluded in San Diego State (9-20, 4-14 CONF). Previously, UNLV had a triumphant comeback at home against the Aztecs to win in five sets. The Rebels took care of business on the road to win in four sets (25-16, 24-26, 25-21, 29-27).
San Diego State opened the first set with a sloppy performance. The Aztecs recorded a match-high nine-team errors. Contrastingly, the Rebels showcased a clean opening set, complimenting the 25-16 victory with 14 team kills.
Despite the sluggish start, the Aztecs bounced back in the ensuing set with great offensive power. San Diego State doubled UNLV in kills, 16 to eight, in the second set. The Azects took the second 26-24.
Tied 1-1, the Rebels weathered the storm as the Aztecs could not. The Aztecs returned to the sloppy form of the first set. San Diego State recorded a poor .054 hitting percentage. UNLV capitalized on the woes of San Diego State and took a 2-1 lead, 25-21.
In hopes of returning the favor of a comeback like the Rebels did earlier in the season, the Aztecs did not go out without a fight. Both squads finished the set one kill apart, 16 to 15. However, with the edge in kills and the cleanest set in the match played by the Rebels, UNLV held off the Aztecs from a comeback, winning the set 29-27. The Rebels recorded a match-low three errors in the final set.
UNLV clinched the third seed in the Mountain West Conference with a 19-11 overall record while going 11-7 in conference play. The Rebels play host in the conference tournament at the Cox Pavilion, Nov. 22-24. UNLV will play sixth-seed New Mexico in the quarterfinal round on Nov. 22 at 4 p.m.