Red Storm Recap: Football shows improvement; Spikers are red hot

ST. GEORGE — The Dixie State Red Storm volleyball team remained undefeated in conference, sweeping three matches on the road. They will face stiffer competition this weekend at home. The football team made great strides offensively and stayed with preseason conference favorite Azusa Pacific for three quarters before losing. Both men’s and women’s soccer lost to California Baptist by one goal to open PacWest play. The women’s golf team lead the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Invitational after the first day of play. Below is a recap of the past week.

FOOTBALL

The Dixie State football team fell to 0-4 on the season with a 42-23 loss to Azusa Pacific on Saturday at Hansen Stadium.

Dixie State bounced back after two disappointing offensive weeks with 338 yards of total offense, balancing totals with 180 passing yards and 158 yards on the ground. But stopping one of the preeminent runners in the nation, APU’s Terrell Watson, and the Cougar rushing attack proved difficult. All six of Azusa Pacific’s touchdowns came on the run.

featdsufootball14Ben Longshore got his first start, but shared time at quarterback with Hayden Gavett in a two-man system. Gavett filled in more of a wildcat quarterback role with rushes and option reads to vary the DSU attack. Longshore directed the snaps in passing situations.

Alex Giordani’s 42-yard field goal, his longest of the year, gave Dixie State a 23-21 lead early in the third quarter.

Azusa Pacific then rattled off 21 straight points behind two more Watson rushing scores and scoring run by Ryan Adams. The Cougars were efficient moving the sticks on third down and took advantage of a DSU mistake on special teams in the third quarter.

Defensively, junior Robert Metz posted a career-best 13 tackles and safety Aeryus Holloway added 12 stops.

Nate Stephens led the Dixie State receiving corps with seven grabs while Groskreutz posted a team-high 56 receiving yards. Myles Burton netted 71 rushing yards on 10 attempts and Gavett finished with 54 yards on the ground.

Longshore closed out his first start with 180 passing yards on 23-of-42 passing with two scores and no interceptions. It was the first game in the 2014 season in which Dixie State did not commit a turnover.

Read the full coverage story here.

The Red Storm finishes off their current homestand next Saturday when they play Simon Fraser at 6 p.m. The game will officially kick off GNAC league play for Dixie State.

VOLLEYBALL

Maddie Rex and Alex Anderson garnered PacWest players of the week honors Monday. The awards are based on matches played Sept. 22-28.

Rex was named Player of the Week while Anderson earned Defender of the Week. Rex helped Dixie State extend its winning streak to six matches with three wins in Northern California. She logged 37 kills, averaging 3.7 kills per set, and a .354 hitting percentage. She tied her career-high with 21 kills at Academy of Art, committing only three errors on 41 attempts for a .439 hitting percentage. She has committed only nine attack errors in Dixie State’s five PacWest matches.

Edithza Urias blocks a Dominican players volley, Dixie State University vs. Dominican University, St. George, Utah, September 20, 2014 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Edithza Urias blocks a Dominican players volley, Dixie State University vs. Dominican University, St. George, Utah, September 20, 2014 | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

“Maddie has always been a great server and defensive player,” said Dixie head coach Robyn Felder. “This year she has matched that with great offensive performances. It seems every set to her results in a kill. Her play has been phenomenal.”

Anderson, the Red Storm libero, contributed on the defensive end to extend Dixie State’s winning streak, as the Red Storm held its opponents to a .169 hitting percentage . She recorded 66 digs, averaging 6.60 digs per set. She had 23 digs at Holy Names and 24 digs at Academy of Art. She ranks second in the PacWest in total digs (240) and digs per set (5.00), while leading in total digs (100) and digs per set (6.25) in conference matches.

“The fact that Alex is averaging over six digs per set is amazing,” said Felder. “We have been playing weaker competition where we have not had long rallies. But her reads have been so good that she has maintained a good dig average.”

On Thursday night, the Dixie State women’s volleyball team swept its third match in a row with a 3-0 (25-11, 25-21, 25-22) win over Holy Names. The match was the first of three in consecutive nights for DSU.

Kendahl Weiland recorded 11 kills to tie for the match-high. The Red Storm started the match hitting .324 in the opening set, cooling off to .269 for the match. The Hawks were only able to muster a .110 mark for the match. Rex added eight kills and 10 digs while Anderson had 23 digs and Shelby Sorensen posted 24 assists.

Friday night the team won again with a hard-fought 3-1 win (25-23, 20-25, 25-17, 25-22) over Academy of Art.

Rex posted a season-high 21 kills to tie a career high and lead the Red Storm as they stay undefeated in the early PacWest campaign. She added eight digs.

Dixie State hit .301 for the match, highlighted by a third set where the Storm recorded a .500 hitting percentage. The Storm remained strong at the net with 9.0 total blocks as a team. Sorenson had 33 assists, 10 digs and three aces.

It took a team effort to beat a struggling Notre Dame de Namur team in straight sets (25-18, 25-4, 25-22), including a dominant second set.

With the win Dixie State (8-5, 5-0) has won six matches in a row and complete a three-match road trip unblemished. The Red Storm hit .387 for the match, boosted by a second set where DSU hit .565. Weiland and Urias led the Red Storm with nine kills apiece. “Our offensive strikers have been led well by our sets,” said Felder. “At any given time we have five hitters on the floor that can deliver kills. Our setters have been good about setting to the one-up blocks or against the weaker opposing passers.”

Dixie State returns home to continue conference play this weekend against Azusa Pacific on Friday and Point Loma on Saturday, in St. George. “We are going to face the upper-echelon conference teams this weekend,” said Felder. “Our conference does not have a season-ending tournament so every game is important to maintain position and post-season standing.”

The game against APU will start at 5 p.m. Friday night.

MEN’S SOCCER

For the fourth consecutive match, Dixie State men’s soccer posted one goal on the scoreboard. For the fourth consecutive match, the lone offensive output was not enough to claim victory.

A lingering thunderstorm delayed the beginning of the Storm’s opening match in Pacific West Conference play against California Baptist for over 90 minutes. It was the Lancers that posted goals late in the first half and early in the second to hold off the Storm, 2-1, on Saturday morning at Hansen Stadium.

Dixie State fell to 0-4-1 on the season, 0-1 in conference, while the Lancers earned their third win of the year and first in PacWest action.

After the Storm missed on shot opportunities in the opening 10 minutes, California Baptist starting firing shots at freshman goalkeeper Hayden Matthews. The ball did not find the net until the 37th minute. Lancer Andrew Reveles directed a ball off a header into the left side of the net after a solid crossing pass from teammate Josh Robinson.

CBU held its 1-0 advantage through halftime and added to their cushion as leading goal scorer, Aiden Apodaca, floated a ball over Matthews for a 2-0 lead in the 48th minute.

For Dixie State, opportunities to bounce back grew more difficult after Matthews earned a red card in the 61st minute after coming out of the box to defend against a CBU threat. Spencer Anderson took over and had to lead the short-handed Storm on the defensive side.

Just three minutes into the disadvantage, Bryan Baugh put back a rebounded shot that clanged off the crossbar into the net to cut CBU’s lead to 2-1.

Dixie State had two last shots in the final five minutes, but Dominic Torres missed high and nothing came from a corner kick from Michael Gray.

CBU held a 12-9 shot advantage for the match. Goalkeeper Ian Clark made two saves, earning the win.

The Red Storm travels across the Pacific Ocean to begin a four-match swing in Hawaii on Saturday, October 4. Dixie State looks for its first conference win against BYU-Hawaii in Laie, with kickoff slated at 4:30 p.m. Hawaiian time.

WOMEN’S SOCCER

Danica Nusink earned PacWest Freshman of the Week honors. Nusink held Cal State Dominguez Hills to one goal in her first collegiate career start. She made five saves in the 2-1 victory. She kept the Toros scoreless for the final 50 minutes.

“We wanted to get Danica good game experience because our starting goalie will be unable to make the Hawaii trip,” said Dixie head coach Kacey Bingham. “Danica is a good goalkeeper and will start the next four games.”

The Dixie State women’s soccer team fell to California Baptist, 2-1, on Saturday afternoon in the Pacific West Conference opener for both teams at Hansen Stadium.

CBU took advantage of two fouls inside the Dixie State defensive box – one handball and one aggressive slide tackle. The fouls led to penalty kicks, both cashed in by the Lancers who improved to 3-4 overall, 1-0 in conference. “It is difficult to lose on penalty kicks,” said Bingham. “I think both calls were questionable. And to have them both result in penalty kicks hurt us.

The Red Storm fought hard in the second half to overcome the deficit, but fell short in finding an equalizer. The loss dropped DSU to 2-4-1 overall, 0-1 in the PacWest.

Dixie State outshot the Lancers 9-7, but the Lancers stalled multiple attempts from DSU to pass the ball into the attacking zone. DSU held a 6-4 shot advantage in the second half with the majority of shots coming late in an attempt to even up the match. “We played a majority of the game in their third of the field,” said Bingham. “We controlled the ball, maintained possession better than they did, but did not translate that well into good shots on goal.”

After falling behind 2-0, the Storm cut the CBU lead in half in the 80th minute. Darian McCloy extended her leg well above her waist to blast a shot into the goal’s top shelf.

Physical play over the final 10 minutes didn’t afford many shot attempts. But, DSU had a final look on a free kick from Jasmine Arollo. Her shot in the final minute sailed high, essentially closing any opportunity for an equalizer. Arollo paced the Storm with three shots for the match.

Dixie State hits the road for four consecutive matches in Hawaii. “All four of these teams gave us good games last year,” said Bingham. “But we have the talent and we will be disappointed if we do not sweep the four games in Hawaii.” First up is BYU-Hawaii on Saturday, October 4 in Laie. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Hawaiian time.

WOMEN’S GOLF

The Dixie State women’s golf team leads after day one of the RMAC No. 2 tournament by two strokes. It’s the first time the team has led after the first day of tournament play.

Dixie State combined for a round one total of 312, two shots ahead of the host school Colorado Mesa.
“We played through rainy and cold conditions all day. It’s difficult to compete in harsh conditions, but credit goes to our ladies for keeping their focus and posting a great number today,” head coach Rachel Harmon said. “Our mental toughness gave us the lead and we’ll keep that focus to finish out the tournament tomorrow.”

Haley Dunn is in second overall, at two-over-par with a first-round 74. Four shots behind her is Shelby Madden, tied for eighth overall. Tied for 13th is Brittney Bisgrove with a 79 and Cobair Collinsworth is tied for 18th two strokes behind. In fifth for the team and tied for 21st overall, Kellie Busse shot an 82 and Justine Connell notched an 84 for 37th. Hannah Folks is tied for 57th after a first round score of 89.

Red Storm Recap is a weekly column following Dixie State athletics and is written by DSU beat writer Darren Cole.

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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