UNLV Volleyball flip the script to win two in a row

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UNLV No. 2 Dakota Quinlan celebrates team point with teammates. Photo by DJ Cabanlong.

UNLV Volleyball has turned the corner for the better as the last half of the regular season begins to close.

Thursday vs Utah State, Oct. 19

The Rebels returned home to face the Aggies (15-8, 8-1 CONF). The last time these two matched up was in the conference tournament last season, where the Aggies pulled the upset against the Rebels in the semifinals.

UNLV opened the first set with great poise and focus. The error margin was evident as the Rebels did not record a single error compared to the Aggie’s eight total. Home court advantage fueled the 25-20 first set in favor of the Rebels.

The energy and momentum from the first carried over into the second set for UNLV. Led by senior outside hitter Isabel Martin, who had a career-high 29 kills, the Rebels recorded a match-high 18 kills. UNLV had the largest lead of the match to claim the second set, 25-17.

Despite trailing 2-0, the Aggies responded with great desperation to fuel a triumphant comeback. Utah State came up late in the third set to take its first lead of the night at 20-19. UNLV lost the third 22-25.

The Aggies continued its good play and recorded its team match-high with 17 kills. Utah State was now in control of the match to take the fourth set 25-23.

Tied 2-2, Utah State ripped open six straight to start the final set. The opening 6-0 run helped the Aggies to get ahead and never look back to complete the major comeback as Utah State was down two sets. The Aggies won the match without the lead in any major category.

Saturday at Boise State, Oct. 21

UNLV traveled for a three-game road trip, starting first against Boise State (11-9, 7-3 CONF).

Home court advantage reigned supreme for the Broncos. The Rebels were unable to get over the hump in the tightly contested first set. Boise State regained a late lead from a crucial 3-0 run, all points were scored by a kill. The Broncos recorded a match-high 17 kills.

The Rebels bounced back in the second set with two 4-0 plus runs to gain an early 11-4 lead. Although the Broncos managed to chip away at the early lead, the Rebels prevailed to win the set, 25-23.

Even at 1-1, the third set showcased the firepower of each team’s offense. Both squads exchanged several 3-0 runs back-and-forth. Ultimately, the atmosphere benefited Boise State to clear the way for a victorious 27-25 third set.

One set away from victory, the Broncos minimized mistakes and kept the errors to a minimum. 

A clutch run of service aces by Boise State’s sophomore libero Breanna Mitchell helped the Broncos extend its lead. Boise State replicated the strong first set as they matched UNLV in errors but edged out the Rebels in kills with 17. 

The Broncos won the final set, 25-23, to take the match in four sets.

Thursday at Air Force, Oct. 26

Heading out to the USAF Academy in Colorado, the Rebels face the Falcons (13-9, 5-6 CONF) looking to snap a four-game losing skid.

The first set was defined by the Falcons 6-0 around the midway mark. The first set remained close throughout, but Air Force had enough to get by UNLV, 25-20.

The Falcons continued to put up unanswered runs to gain a 17-9 lead. The script had been flipped by the Rebels as the team in turn put on a scoring clinic to regain and take the second set on a 14-6 run. UNLV recorded its match-high of 17 kills and match-low of two errors in the second set

Tied at one a piece, the Rebels battled its way through a tough, competitive third set. The error-riddled Falcons gave up three of the Rebels’ four final points by way of attack error. UNLV won the third set 25-20.

Although the Falcons scored 18 kills, the team recorded a total of thirteen errors. The Rebels capitalized on the road to get back in the win column as they won the fourth set 25-22.

UNLV had three players finish in double digits in two major categories, kills (Arretche-Ramos, Martin, and Freeman) and digs (Knight, Martin, and Fafard). Two Rebels ended with double-doubles, Isabel Martin had 19 kills and 13 digs, and senior setter Arien Fafard had 39 assists and 11 digs.

Saturday vs New Mexico, Oct. 28

Coming off a win, the Rebels played the Lobos (16-7, 8-4 CONF) in Albuquerque for the final game of the road stretch.

Both squads exchanged back-and-forth, but the Lobos scored a late 5-0 run to gain momentum and the lead. The late push served as a catalyst for New Mexico to win the first set 25-23.

Down 1-0, UNLV continued its consistency offensively, and it paid dividends. Despite 11 errors in the second set, the Rebels came out on top 25-22.

After a demoralizing second set for the Lobos, the Rebels cooked up a blowout the rest of the way. UNLV dominated every major category by at least a differential of seven throughout the entirety of the match. The Rebels scored an incredible 9-0 run to take the third 25-13.

With one more set to win, UNLV did not let off the gas. The Rebels learned from the frustrating comeback loss at home against Utah State and closed out New Mexico in convincing fashion. 

The squad put up several 4-0 plus runs to seize the fourth set, 25-16, and win the match 3-1 against the Lobos.

Arien Fafard recorded a career-high 50 assists and nine digs.

Up Next

UNLV Volleyball (14-10, 6-6 CONF) is back for a four-game home stretch at the Cox Pavilion. The Rebels face off against Fresno State on November 2nd at 6:30 p.m. and UNR on November 4th at 1 p.m.

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