UNLV volleyball extends win streak to 11

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Freshman libero Maya Sands gets ready to play the point during an earlier UNLV volleyball game this season. Photo by Jordan Anders-McClain.

UNLV volleyball continues to run the table as the team consistently runs through its opponents, extending its winning streak to 11 games . 

The Rebels took on Boise State and Utah State and finished off both matches in dominant fashion, winning 3-0 against the Broncos and 3-2 against the Aggies on the road.

Thursday night in Boise, the Rebels and Broncos kept the first set close, scoring back and forth until the midway mark. At 12-13, UNLV began a five point unanswered run to gain and extend the lead to 17-13. From there, the Rebels never looked back and took the first set 25-18.

UNLV fell behind by three early in the second set. However, the Rebels quickly took the lead and maintained momentum throughout the remainder of the second. 

Led by junior outside hitter Gabrielle Arretche-Ramos, the Rebels scored on several runs to emphatically close the second, 25-19. Gabrielle recorded six of her team-high 12 kills in this set.

The third set was symbolic of how UNLV had played in the previous two sets. The dominance came roaring from the first point until the last. 

The Rebels showed why they are the Mountain West leaders by finishing the set and match. The Rebels swept the Broncos 3-0 (25-18, 25-19, 25-17).

Saturday at Utah State

The last time these two matched up was Oct. 13, when the Rebels came on top in a five set match over the Aggies at Cox Pavilion. 

In a competitive first set on Saturday, UNLV trailed by as many as four points, but exchanged leads and scored several runs over the course of the set. The Rebels were led by redshirt junior outside hitter Isabel Martin with her eight kills as the team won the tightly contested first set, 26-24.

Heading into the second set up 1-0, the Rebels struggled to maintain their momentum from the first. An error-riddled second set cost UNLV, as the Aggies tied up the match with a 25-15 final score in the second.

UNLV continued to trail for the majority of the third set. The Rebels slowly crept up on the Aggies at the end of the third, but could not overcome the deficit. UNLV was outscored in kills by five and service aces by four, as they fell short in the third 18-25.

The Rebels flipped the script and took control of the fourth set. Unlike the prior two sets, UNLV minimized errors and Utah State’s hitting percentage was kept in check. 

UNLV forced a fifth set due to graduate student setter Jhenna Grabriel’s assists, which set up numerous kills and points scored. The Rebels repeat the first set score to close the fourth, 26-24.

Tied 2-2, UNLV stamped several statement plays to capitalize and secure the set and match 3-2 (26-24, 15-25, 18-25, 26-24, 15-8). 

UNLV stays atop of the Mountain West, 20-3 overall and 11-1 in conference play. 

Sullivan picks up 100th win

UNLV volleyball claimed head coach Dawn Sullivan’s 100th win with the program, over the San Jose State Spartans, who entered the match undefeated in Mountain West play.

The Rebels took on the Spartans and won in four sets, 3-1 (30-32, 25-19, 25-21, 39-37), earning the victory at the Cox Pavilion on Thursday evening.

The Spartans led for a majority of the first set, until 22-19, where nine lead changes took place. Despite the lead changes, the Rebels dropped the first set, as the Spartans won it 32-30.

Graduate student middle blocker Ellease Crumpton helped spark a shift of momentum by landing several kills and a block to extend UNLV to their largest lead of the second set, 21-12. 

These moments were just the beginning as the Rebels capped off an important second set by withstanding a 4-0 run and completing the set, 25-19.

“We caught them off guard and stayed really composed,” Sullivan said of the change in momentum following the first set.

Tied 1-1, a team effort was in need for the Rebels in order to secure a back-and-forth third set. The 25-21 win was led by junior outside hitter Gabrielle Arretche-Ramos, redshirt junior outside hitter Isabel Martin, and Crumpton who all combined for 10 kills in the third.

“[We] had a lot of pressure, look at the score it was 39-37,” Martin said of the difficulty in closing the fourth set and the match. 

Martin led the team in kills with 20. 

“That was fun, I didn’t realize that was the 100th win,” Sullivan said, “We gotta be us, we can’t  ride any roller coasters…one thing they [the Rebels] did really well was stay composed.”

Saturday at UNR

The Rebels traveled up to face in-state rival UNR and they extended their win streak to nine, as they won the matchup 3-1 (25-17, 23-25, 25-23, 25-14), Saturday afternoon in Reno.

Early into the first set, UNLV trailed 3-6, but managed to make several runs of five plus unanswered points at 8-10 and 15-15. UNLV finished the set with 38.2% attack percentage which more than doubled UNR at 18.2%. UNLV took the first set 25-17.

The Rebels immediately fell to a 1-8 deficit due to an abundance of errors. Slowly attempting to crawl back into the set, the errors appeared to be the downfall of the second set, 23-25.

“I think we are just a really gritty group,” freshman libero Maya Sands said. “Even though we came off slow, we did not let that define the whole game.” 

The Mountain West Freshman of the Week finished the game with 20 digs.

The Rebels defined the third set through their resiliency and ability to get four unanswered points to regain the lead, which then was stamped by junior outside hitter Arretche-Ramos’ kill to close out the third 25-23. Graduate student setter Jhenna Gabriel, who led the team in assists with 49, set up Arretche-Ramos for the final kill in the third.

Heading into the fourth set leading 2-1, UNLV began with a gaping 8-0 lead. They maintained the dominant position by extending their lead to as large as 13. The Rebels closed the match out on their rivals winning 25-14.

“We just have to keep going, not lose our focus, and play our game,” Arretche-Ramos said, looking ahead to the second half of the season.

The Rebels are now 18-3 overall and 9-1 in Mountain West play, which has them tied with San Jose State for first-place. 

UNLV continues on the road to face Boise State, Thursday at 6 p.m., and Utah State, Saturday at noon.

Up Next

The Rebels come home to play the Air Force on Thursday at 6pm and University of New Mexico on Saturday at 1pm, both at Cox Pavilion.

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