Dixie State University pulled out a close five-set win Saturday afternoon that meant it would stay tied for the top spot in the Pacific West Conference.
With the win over California Baptist University, DSU improves to 15-6 overall and 12-1 in conference play. The Red Storm are tied with BYU-Hawaii at the top of the conference.
“All I can say is that these girls know how to battle,” head coach Robyn Felder said. “We have learned a lot from our losses. These girls know how to grind teams down and finish.”
It took a rebound from a rough start for the Storm. They fell behind early losing the first set 25-12.
The next two sets were close but DSU handled the pressure to build a 2-1 set lead over Cal Baptist. It would take five sets total with DSU coming out on top 15-10 in the finale.
The team has worked a lot on the mental aspect of the game, Felder said. They have tried to overcome fear and self-doubts.
Junior outside hitter Edithza Urias led the team with 17 kills. Senior outside hitter Maddie Rex added 15 kills with one ace.
“That was a big win for us,” said libero Alex Anderson, a junior integrated studies major from Prescott, Arizona. “Especially because they were number three in the conference and we are number two. We knew we needed to defend our spot.”
The game was the last during DSU’s homecoming week and the crowd came out to cheer its team on.
“The game was packed,” Felder said. “A lot of the DSU athletes were there cheering us on and it made a huge difference. They made the difference in game five for sure, we love our fans.”
After such a close match there will be another chance right away as DSU heads to Riverside, California for a re-match Oct. 30.
“We needed to make a statement,” Anderson said. “We needed to make it clear to them that we were not going to let them beat us because we play back-to-back.”
DSU has seven games left in the season with four of them coming at home and three on the road.
When Coach Felder was asked about the chance of a conference title she said: “If we can finish strong and play with confidence, we have a great chance.”