The Dixie State College volleyball team is hoping to turn a hard weekend loss into a positive battle against Azusa Pacific University on Saturday.
Azusa has an overall record of 13-7 and just conquered both Hawai’i Pacific University and Chaminade University.
The Cougars left Chaminade with a four-set victory. Azusa soared to a 25-9 win in the second match that shot Chaminade’s confidence to the ground. The Silverswords had a little bit of fight left in them when they came back to win the third match 23-25, but then they finished their downhill spiral and lost the last game 25-19.
The Red Storm played Chaminade on Sept. 19 and took a 2-3 loss with the scores of 25-20, 25-17, 17-25, 18-25 and 10-15.
In this game, the Red Storm won the first two sets with ease but lost momentum as the Silverswords took control and won the last three.
Although Azusa defeated Chaminade, the Red Storm hope to take control of the Saturday game against the Cougars and come out with a win.
“Looking back we should have beat Chaminade,” said sophomore libero Alex Anderson, a biology major from Prescott, Ariz. “There’s no reason we should have lost to them, and we’re a completely different team than we were at the beginning of the season. So honestly, I don’t think Azusa will know what’s coming, and they won’t know what to expect.”
Junior middle blocker Kristin Heywood, a communication major from Portland, Ore., said head coach Robyn Felder gets a scouting report before each game, and the team works on facing specific characteristics of the opponent.
“Our goal for the rest of the season is winning out,” Heywood said. “That’s really our goal, and we’re taking it one game at a time.”
The Red Storm had a break full of competition when they faced Dominican University of California on Thursday and Holy Names University on Saturday.
Dixie State swept Dominican in three straight games with the scores of 25-18, 25-15 and 25-19. Senior outside hitter Brita Jensen had an injured wrist in this game and was only able to shine in the libero position—and shine she did. She led the team to victory with 15 digs and two assists.
“She has been really good for us in the back row,” Anderson said. “She’s such a good defensive player. She’s been playing right side all year so this is a complete change for her, and she’s been killing it.”
However, the Saturday game was a different story for DSC.
The team took a heartbreaking 2-3 loss against Holy Names University with the scores of 14-25, 25-27, 27-25, 25-15 and 15-12.
The Red Storm had the Hawks at their mercy the first two games and most of the third until they were up 22-18, and the Hawks soared back to steal the game 27-25.
This was the beginning of the trap of losses Dixie couldn’t escape.
The Hawks then built a 10-3 lead early in the fourth set and finished at 15-25 to force a fifth set.
The fifth set started out well for DSC when it had a 2-1 lead as freshman middle blocker Janessa Koelliker and freshman middle blocker Makenzi Bird blocked HNU’s outside hitter Katie Lopez. Unfortunately, that was the only lead Dixie had the entire set as HNU’s outside hitter Rachel Vartanian and Lopez carried the team to victory.
Although Bird had 16 kills, outside hitter Shannon Young had 14 kills, and junior right side Pauline VonDinklage had 11 kills, the Red Storm still drop their record to 6-9 overall and 4-6 in the Pacific West Conference play.
“We creamed the first two games,” Heywood said. “The second game we were up 22-18, and we just let down. We didn’t have the fight in the next two games because we thought we had it in three. It was definitely the most disappointing game of the whole season.”
Dixie State hopes to take the lessons learned from these two games and end the Saturday game with a win in its hands.
The Red Storm play Azusa Saturday at 3 p.m. in the Student Activities Center.