Dixie State volleyball wins at home after triumphant Hawaii trip

Dixie State University vs. Westminster College, St. George, Utah, Nov. 18th, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The Dixie State volleyball team came home after clinching the PacWest championship in Hawaii to sweep Westminster in straight sets Wednesday night 25-16, 25-23, 25-19.

dsulogoThe Griffins, a team from the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, came south from Salt Lake City for the non-conference matchup.

Individually for the Storm Taylor Duryea and Delayne Daniel recorded 16 and 13 kills respectively. Kailey Frei dished 36 assists. Recording double digit digs were Alex Anderson (17), Talia Brown (12) and Frei (11). As a team DSU had a .303 attack percentage while holding Westminster to .205.

The Red Storm improved to 19-9 on the season and have clinched the PacWest Conference and NCAA Tournament automatic bid with a current record of 15-4, two games in front of the three teams picked to finish in front of the Red Storm in the PacWest preseason poll.

Makenzi Bird-Murphey at the next for Dixie State, Dixie State University vs. Westminster College, St. George, Utah, Nov. 18th, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Makenzi Bird-Murphey at the next for Dixie State, Dixie State University vs. Westminster College, St. George, Utah, Nov. 18th, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

Dixie State took over first place in the conference on Oct. 31 with a win on the road against Concordia University. The toughest part of the schedule would follow, however, and it was no guarantee they would remain in first place having to face the other top three teams in consecutive games.

The Storm beat Cal Baptist and Point Loma at home but suffered a critical defeat on the road at BYU-Hawaii. That loss pulled the Seasiders within one game of Dixie State with three games remaining.

“We came out flat,” said Dixie middle blocker and team captain Makenzi Bird-Murphey. “There is a reason that BYU-Hawaii has been dominant the past five years. You have to play your best against them.”

“I think the girls played scared,” said Felder. “It was hard to watch. But they regrouped and came back to sweep a team that beat us earlier (Chaminade) in straight sets the next night.”

Two nights later, after two consecutive wins over Chaminade and UH-Hilo, the team was at the airport in Hawaii when they got the news that BYU-Hawaii had lost again placing them two games back with just one game remaining. Mathematically the Storm clinched the conference title.

“We had our cell phones out following that last set,” said Frei. “When the game was final we all started screaming. We got a lot of strange looks from the other passengers.”

Lindsey Jones for Dixie State, Dixie State University vs. Westminster College, St. George, Utah, Nov. 18th, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Lindsey Jones for Dixie State, Dixie State University vs. Westminster College, St. George, Utah, Nov. 18th, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

“The girls were ecstatic,” said Felder. “Winning conference has been our goal this season. Except for the BYU-Hawaii game, they have played their best of the season over the few games.”

After beginning the season 3-7 and 0-2 in conference play, the Storm have won 15 out of 17 in conference. Dixie State’s final conference game is no pushover. Fresno Pacific is not among the conference leaders, but the Sunbirds are just the hottest team currently in the conference. Since their loss to Dixie State in late October, they have reeled off seven straight wins, four in straight sets.

“They took us to five sets at their place,” said Bird Murphey. “We want to close out the season with momentum. We know we are going to have to play well.”

“We know we have clinched,” said Frei. “But we still have motivation to play well. It is our final home game and it will be “Senior Day”. We have great seniors and we want to win this for them.”

Game time is scheduled for noon on Saturday.

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

 

 

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