Thunderbird volleyball looks to bounce back with two home games

After the Southern Utah University women’s volleyball team suffered losses to both California Baptist University and Grand Canyon University, they will host two conference games. 

The Thunderbirds will face off against the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley on Saturday, Nov. 4, at 6 p.m. They will then host the Utah Tech University Trailblazers on Monday, Nov. 6, at 6:30 p.m. Both games will be held in the America First Event Center. 

The Trailblazers and the Vaqueros will take on each other prior to heading to SUU.

With a strong third-place presence in Western Athletic Conference standings, UTRGV are looking to add to their overall 14-11 record. 

Junior outside hitter Perris Key leads the team in kills with a total of 239 this season and ranks second in blocks with 62. 

Kiaraliz Perez has led the team’s defensive charge with 353 digs, which puts her second in the WAC. She is followed by Luanna Emiliano, who has gained 283 digs so far. 

The Vaqueros swept the Thunderbirds in their previous matchup this season.

Utah Tech
The Trailblazers enter the match with an 8-14 record and stand 4-8 in WAC play, ranking them eighth in the conference. 

Sophomore Kennedi Knudsen has a total of 267 kills. She is also UT’s top scorer by a wide margin with 301.5 points, 85.5 more than any other Trailblazer. 

Sydney Reese on the defensive side has 64 blocks, while Taela Laufiso has helped the team with overall totals of 497 assists and 126 digs. Laufiso’s assists put her at No. 6 in the WAC.

Utah Tech also swept SUU last time they met.

Southern Utah
The Thunderbirds are 1-11 in conference play and enter with an overall record of 5-17. They currently sit dead last in the WAC standings. 

Redshirt senior Andrea Spasojevic leads the team by contributing 221 kills. She has also earned 26 service aces and has 261 digs, leading the team in each of those categories. 

Defensively, Hana Makonova leads the team with 55 blocks, followed by Carissa Richie, who has 35. Makonova also sits second on the team in kills with a total of 163 this season. 

The Monday match will be senior night for the Thunderbirds. Makonova, a graduate student, will be honored that evening. Though this was her only season for Southern Utah, the middle blocker from the Czech Republic has been a key contributor for the Thunderbirds. She has appeared in every single set this season.

Southern Utah will be looking to make a turn around by defeating these opponents and starting a winning streak as the season nears the end. 

Author: Anna Mower
Photographer: Anden Garfield
Editor: Anden Garfield