The Thunderbirds played their first Big Sky Conference match of the season this evening against the Fighting Hawks of North Dakota. They came out strong to begin the match and dominated the first set. However, North Dakota found their groove starting in the second set and came back to win the match in four sets.
Southern Utah showed no signs of nerves coming into their first conference match of the year. The Thunderbirds came out in top form in the first set, as they spread out their offensive attack between Janet Kalaniuvalu, Macky Fifita, and MaCail Evans. The three combined for a total of 25 kills for the match. Along with the offensive attack, Southern Utah was formidable on defense, especially in this set. Evans recorded six blocks and Cox had nine for the match. The Thunderbirds were in control from the beginning of the set and won it 25-16.
The tides started to turn in the second set. North Dakota jumped ahead to an early 5-1 lead and never looked back. The big three for the Fighting Hawks in this match were Faith Dooley, Jordan Vail, and and Ashley Brueggeman. They all had at least 14 kills and put up high hitting percentages. North Dakota evened the score by winning this set 25-13.
The story was similar in the final two sets as well. The offensive firepower of Dooley, Vail, and Brueggeman was simply too much. North Dakota won the 3rd and 4th sets 25-18 to seal the win.
Another highlight of the night for Southern Utah was the 9 kills and 12 digs from Kalaniuvalu falling just one kill short of a double-double.
The Thunderbirds will be back on the court in the Centrum Arena this Saturday evening at 7 p.m. MT.
Live Stats/Live Stream
A live stream of Saturday’s match will be on PlutoTV. An app can be downloaded to access PlutoTV programming, or visit pluto.tv/watch. All Thunderbird home programming will be available on channel 236.
Live stats will be available on suutbirds.com prior to the start of the match