Thunderbirds Drop Home Opener To Rival Weber State

CEDAR CITY, UT — The Southern Utah University volleyball team lost 3-1 against rival Weber State Thursday night to open Big Sky play. SUU fell to 1-12 overall and WSU improved to 6-4.

The intensity of the rivalry was felt in the form of nail-biting sets. Three of four were decided by only two points.

Set one was tied 21-21 when SUU went on a 3-0 run. WSU then scored two in a row before Anna Hopkins sealed the 25-23 win for SUU with a kill. The Thunderbirds got 17 kills in the set en route to a .355 hitting percentage. WSU picked up ten kills and hit .138.

The teams played to an 18-18 tie in set two before WSU rolled off a 7-3 run to earn the victory and even the match at one set apiece. Aubrey Saunders finished the set with a kill to give WSU a 25-21 win.

In set three, SUU fell behind 15-10 before storming ahead 18-17. Then a 7-4 run put WSU up 24-21. SUU scored three consecutive kills by Miranda Canez, Emma Mangum and McKenzie Dowell to even the score at 24-24. Then SUU made a costly service error and a kill from Megan Gneiting gave WSU a 26-24 win to go up 2-1 in the match.

SUU started hot to go up 20-13 in the fourth set. Then six Thunderbird errors helped WSU finish the set on a 12-3 run and win 25-23.

Janet Kalaniuvalu led SUU with 19 kills and McKenzie Dowell followed with 17. Andrea Hale led WSU with 16 kills. SUU finished with a .258 hitting percentage and WSU finished at .207.

The Thunderbirds return to action against Idaho State on Sept. 22 at 1:00 p.m. in the America First Event Center. The game will be streamed on Pluto TV channel 236.

Story by: Aaron Peterson for SUU News
Photo by: SUU Athletics Strategic Communications