In an impressive display of talent, Southern Utah took down Eastern Washington in four sets. Macky Fifita and Elisa Lago racked up double-doubles in kills and digs and MaCail Evans almost reached that benchmark in kills and blocks falling just one block short.
After a difficult opening to their conference play this season, the Thunderbirds were ready to turn things around today.
“We’re just trying to focus on the positive things. Before, we were looking more at the big picture, but today we slowed it down and focused on those positives,” said Evans.
Many positive things were evident right out of the gate as the Thunderbirds jumped ahead to an early 15-11 lead. Lago came out on fire as she blasted five kills in their first set alone. Eastern Washington hung tight throughout the set but never could quite regain the lead. Thanks to the offensive efforts of Lago and a .414 team hitting percentage in the set, Southern Utah won the first set 25-20.
The Eagles turned up their game going into the second set. As a team they had a .324 hitting percentage for the set. Outside hitter, Ashley Seiler also had a strong performance with 17 kills for the match. The second set score was a reverse of the first and Eastern Washington tied things up at one set a piece.
After dropping the first four points of the third set, Coach Choate called a timeout that helped them regroup and fight back to take control of the set. After the timeout, the Thunderbirds were firing on all cylinders. Multiple players contributed to the offensive attack giving Eastern Washington no idea who to focus their defensive efforts on.
Southern Utah had five players with seven or more kills and hitting percentages as least as high as .217.
The proved to be too much for the Eagles and the Thunderbirds won the third set 25-18.
The fourth set was dominated by Evans. She had seven kills and three blocks in the set, directly participating in ten of the Thunderbirds 25 points in the set. She also had 17 kills for the match, nine blocks, and a .429 hitting percentage. However, Eastern Washington wasn’t done yet. They got up 24-22 and were a point away from forcing a fifth set.
A critical block from Anna Cox and Mckenzie Van Uitert kept Southern Utah in the set and tied things up at 24-24.
Southern Utah won the match 26-24 on a clutch kill from Fifita.
Southern Utah will begin a four-match road trip beginning this Thursday. They will compete against Sacramento State Thursday at 8 p.m. MT and against Portland State Saturday at 8 p.m. MT.
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SUU Athletic Strategic Communications