The Dixie State University volleyball team honored its three seniors in the final game and loss of the season Saturday.
Outside hitters Shannon Young, Sheila Uluave and Pauline VonDinklage were honored as the Red Storm lost in four sets to Point Loma Nazarene University, despite having 591 loud fans in the stands.
“These girls are so amazing,” said Young, a senior communication major from Whittier, Calif. “This is the most cohesive, best team I have played with by far. We didn’t have drama, and everyone got along. It was just awesome to go to practice in the morning and to travel with these girls. It was so great to play with everyone.”
DSU’s lone win came in the third set, but the Sea Lions took the victory with the scores of 25-19, 25-21, 24-26 and 25-20.
“We’re a little disappointed because we lost,” Young said. “I think we had a good fight, and I was so proud of them.”
The Sea Lions took early leads in the first two sets and never looked back to take the 2-0 lead.
“Point Loma is a good team,” said libero Haylee Wilkes, a sophomore English major from Salt Lake City. “I just think we put it all out there [with] no regrets.”
The Red Storm bounced back in the third set with the win after fighting off PLNU’s comeback attempt.
“In game three, the crowd got involved, and our energy level went through the roof,” Wilkes said. “We just knew we could win from then on. The entire game, we had the lead the whole time, and we just knew we were going to win. We had the energy to win.”
The Sea Lions finished off the Red Storm in the fourth set, even after DSU went on a short run to tie the game 20-20. The Sea Lions then finished on a 5-0 run of their own to win the match.
Young led the team with 19 kills in the match. Junior outside hitter Maddie Rex had 13 kills, and junior right side hitter Kendahl Weiland added 10 more. Rex also led the team in serves with 23, including two aces.
Head coach Robyn Felder said the loss will most likely knock the Red Storm out of the playoff contention and end their season. She said it would take a miracle for the team to make the playoffs now.
“We were tied with (California Baptist University),” Young said. “Now we have one more loss than them. I was talking to (Athletic Director) Jason (Boothe), and he said, ‘It might not be over.’ So we need to be hopeful.”
The NCAA takes the top eight teams in the West region, and DSU was No. 9 going into the match against PLNU.
Even without the playoffs, the Red Storm have had a historical season.
“This season was the best we’ve ever had,” Young said. “We made history; we were ranked. That’s never happened for Dixie, so I only expect great things out of them next year.”
The team will await an official announcement Nov. 24 to know if it made the playoffs. If the Red Storm don’t make the cut for the playoffs, they will continue progressing.
“We want that national championship, so we will be working day-in and day-out to work for it,” Wilkes said.