In a five-set match that had a combined 111 kills, 69 blocks and 157 points, the Dixie State University volleyball team came out on top.
DSU played against California Baptist University Saturday night in the loud Student Activities Center. After falling behind 1-2, Dixie State fought back and won the match 3-2.
Cal Baptist took an early 9-2 lead in the first set, but DSU didn’t give up and tied the game twice. Dixie State led for only two points, but it was those two points that gave Dixie the one-set lead. Dixie won 26-24.
“It was insane,” said setter Shelby Sorensen, a sophomore nursing major from Lehi. “(It was) the best game we’ve played so far this season. Cal Baptist is a great team, so that was huge for us. That was huge for our confidence and huge for us going into the last stretch of our season.”
The second and third sets were rough for the Red Storm as Cal Baptist took the lead early and won both sets easily with the scores 25-14 and 25-12.
“They’re an awesome blocking team, and they were just shutting us down those first three (sets),” said outside hitter Maddie Rex, a junior business major from Tucson, Ariz. “We kind of got really hesitant and tentative with swinging. We weren’t swinging as [aggressively] as we should.”
The Red Storm played in a hard-fought 25-23 win in the fourth set. DSU never led by more than three points in the set but never trailed by more than one point.
“What we did differently (in sets four and five) is we just came out on fire at the beginning,” Sorensen said. “We started off stronger, didn’t let ourselves get behind, we really focused on not letting them get runs, and (we did) what worked on our side.”
Senior outside hitter Shannon Young led the team with 18 kills, Rex added 11 and sophomore outside hitter Makenzi Bird added eight more.
“We just showed a lot of heart coming back in those two really rough sets, but we came back fighting with confidence in the fourth (set),” Rex said.
In a set with eight ties and three lead changes, DSU won 19-17 in the fifth set and completed the comeback.
“After we got our butts kicked in game two and three, I told the girls, ‘This is your chance to show that you have heart,’ and they did,” head coach Robyn Felder said. “They rebounded, they reset and we were able to get the win.”
This game marked the first of their final five-game home stretch for the Red Storm. Next, DSU will play the University of Hawaii at Hilo tonight at 6 p.m. at the SAC.
“We really want to go to the postseason tournament,” Rex said. “We need to stay undefeated the rest of the season. That’s our goal, and I think we can do it.”