LAS VEGAS — The Thunderbird volleyball team opened up the 2018 regular season in Las Vegas on Friday, falling to LIU Brooklyn and UNLV.
Despite the results, SUU first-year head coach Pete Hoyer saw a lot of things he liked out of his young squad.
“We had a couple of pretty solid offensive performances out of our two starting middles,” he said. “Miranda Canez put up a 600 plus hitting percentage and when we could get her the ball she was super successful. And Anna Hopkins did a great job tonight being available and scoring. We had good performances there, but still a lot to work on.”
UNLV 3, Southern Utah 0
In the second match of the day, the UNLV Rebels pulled away with a 3-0 victory over the Thunderbirds in their home gym.
Despite a close start to kick off the opening set, the Rebels pulled away to claim a big set one victory 25-15.
In the second set, the Thunderbirds trailed by as many as 11 before mounting a huge comeback and cutting the Rebel lead to two. Unfortunately for the T-Birds, UNLV was able to pull away with the set win 25-21.
The Rebels secured the victory in the third set, pulling away with a 25-17 advantage resulting in a 3-0 win.
Emma Mangum led the Thunderbirds in kills against the Rebels, racking up nine on 22 attempts.
LIU Brooklyn 3, Southern Utah 0
In their first matchup of the day, the Thunderbirds fell to the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds 3-0.
The Thunderbirds hung tough in the first set, but the Blackbirds were able to pull away down the stretch and take the opening frame 25-19.
After suffering a 25-16 defeat in the second set, the Thunderbirds bounced back in the third to play the closest set of the three but ultimately fell to LIU Brooklyn 25-22 giving the Blackbirds a 3-0 victory.
Janet Kalaniuvalu led the Thunderbirds with 13 kills in the opening contest, and Alexis Averett dished out 24 assists. In her first collegiate start freshman Miahna Waters had 16 digs for the Thunderbirds.
The Thunderbirds will return to the court in Las Vegas on Saturday to take on the Indiana Hoosiers at 12:30 p.m.
Story by: SUU Athletics Strategic Communication