ST. GEORGE – Dixie State’s volleyball squad used a little late-match motivation to squeak by Notre Dame de Namur Wednesday night, 25-17, 25-14, 22-25, 19-25, 15-9.
Facing an 8-5 deficit against conference foe NDNU in the fifth and deciding set, Dixie State head coach Robyn Felder called time out. The Storm had lost the two previous sets after cruising through the first two.
“Coach (Felder) told us at the timeout that we were clearly the better team,” said DSU libero and team captain Alex Anderson. “The timeout was less about strategy and more like an ‘Are you kidding me’ moment from Coach. She told us to figure it out.”
The Storm did exactly that. DSU’s Taylor Duryea sandwiched two kills around a NDNU side out. The second kill came from Kailey Frei’s set on the right side and smashed it home for the kill. That point led to side out for the Storm where Frei then served out the remainder of the set for the victory. It was the Storm’s home opener after playing their first 10 games on the road.
“This match has been typical of our season,” said Felder. “At times we play great like we did in the first two sets and other times we play not so great.”
DSU came out on fire in the first set taking an early 11-1 lead. Duryea recorded three service aces during the run. “Taylor has really stepped up her game,” said Felder. “Not only her serves but her all-around play has improved.”
The lead climbed to 16-4 on four consecutive points from Talia Brown. The Argonauts clawed back to pull within five at 19-14. But the Storm went on another decisive 5-0 run to put the game away. Delayne Daniel recorded three kills during the run. Makenzi Bird-Murphey would record a kill to score the final point of the set.
In the second set, the Knights stayed close through the first rotation. The Dixie lead was only 11-8 before going on a 6-0 run. Duryea, Daniel and Brette Anderson all recorded kllls during the run. Dixie’s last run of the set came on the final three points. Leading 22-14 Duryea recorded two more kills.
In the third set, the game stayed tight. The Argonauts took the first lead and held onto it until Brette Anderson’s kill gave the Storm its first lead 13-12. DSU’s lead climbed to four on Bird-Murphey’s kill 20-16. Notre Dame de Namur closed on a 9-2 run behind the serves of Megan Timmons to take their first set.
In the fourth set, the Storm never led. After pulling within two at 11-9, the Knights went on a 12-3 run to put the game out of reach. DSU’s errors on passing and attack were costly during the run. The Storm would rally, but could not overcome the deficit, setting up the tie-breaking fifth set.
Duryea led the storm with 21 kills. The redshirt freshman also had seven digs and four service aces.
“I did not play last year and that was tough,” said Duryea. “I had to adjust to the speed of the college game. I worked very hard over the summer and continued this season.”
Daniel recorded a double-double with 19 kills and 18 digs. She also had four service aces. Frei led all players with 54 assists. Alex Anderson led all players with 26 digs. Bird-Murphey led all players with five blocks. She also had 12 kills and seven digs.
With the win, Dixie State moves to 4-7 (1-2 in the PacWest). NDNU drops to 5-6 (1-1). The Storm continue their seven-game home stand with a noon game this Saturday against Holy Names University.
Stats: DSU 3, NDNU 2
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