ST. GEORGE – Dixie State sits all alone atop the Pacific West Conference volleyball standings. With a weekend sweep of Azusa Pacific and Point Loma Nazarene, the Red Storm remains undefeated at 7-0. PLNU is a half-game back at 6-1 while BYU-Hawaii is one game back at 5-0.
Staying hot at the right time, the Red Storm had little problem dispensing with Azusa Pacific on Friday night with a 3-0 (25-14, 25-13, 25-22) win.
Dixie State dominated the first two sets and had enough momentum to ride out a tight third set to win. Maddie Rex and Edithza Urias had double digit kills with 11 and 10 respectively.
Leading 11-9 in the second set, Dixie State scored five straight to take a commanding 16-9 advantage. The Storm closed with a 9-5 run to take the first set.
In the second set, the Storm went on a 6-0 run to again put the game out of reach early 12-4. They kept the pressure on to take a commanding win in the second set 25-13.
In the third set the Lady Cougars was able to close at the finish. Dixie State seemed to be in control at 16-9 but the Cougars got hot, rattling off six straight to make it a one-point game. After the Red Storm built a 19-15 edge, Azusa came back again to cut the lead to 21-20. A service error for the Cougars and an ace from the Red Storm turned the tide, and DSU held off Azusa Pacific 25-22 to win the match in straight sets.
Kailey Avery and Shelby Sorenson led the team in assists with 22 and 19 respectively. Libero Alex Anderson led the team with 15 digs.
The win against APU set up the battle for first place between the Red Storm and the Sea Lions of PLNU. Both entered the contest 6-0 in conference. Dixie came out on top but took four sets to do it (25-20, 23-25, 25-21, 25-23). DSU, one of the top offensive teams in the nation, had to rely on defense to get the job done.
“We had incredible passing today,” said Dixie State head coach Robyn Felder. “It was needed because we played an incredible passing team today.”
The Red Storm, who normally scores with attack percentages over .300 could only manage .199 Saturday, but held PLNU to even less at .182. Four players had double-digit digs. Anderson led once again with 15. Rex and Kara Cotter had 11 apiece. Sorenson followed with 10.
Each set was contested and stayed close. In set one, neither team led by more than three until a strong finish from Dixie State. Ahead 21-19, another kill from Rex gave the Red Storm some cushion sparking a 4-1 run to finish the set with a 25-20 victory.
The Red Storm led 19-13 in the second set and looked to have the advantage. The Sea Lions regrouped and tied the set at 22-22, eventually taking the set scoring three out of the last four points.
DSU rebounded in set three. DSU remained in control for most of the third, trading scores back and forth eventually pulling away 25-21 to go up 2-1.
The Sea Lions were in control most of the fourth set. Dixie was able to push in front late at 19-18. The Red Storm carried the momentum to 24-20. With the crowd on its feet in anticipation of the victory the Sea Lions scored three consecutive points to force a Red Storm timeout. However Bird put down the final kill to win it 25-23 and the match 3-1.
Urias led the team with 14 kills followed by Rex with 11 and Makenzie Bird with 10. Rex also led the team with four service aces. Avery and Sorenson had 23 and 19 assists respectively. “We are playing with a lot of confidence right now,” said Avery. “Getting these two games at home against good teams was big.”
The Storm now head on the road for the annual Hawaii trip. They will play four games in five days, including one against BYU-Hawaii on Thursday.
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