Hornets volleyball end season with a loss to Southern Utah 2-3

Paris Prado

The Hornets closed their season tonight losing to Southern Utah in a five set match 2-3, (23-25, 23-25, 25-22, 25-17, 13-15).

The first set was full of long rallies, and ultimately a win for Southern Utah at 23-25.

“We played really hard against an opponent that’s trying to get into the conference tournament and playing really fired up,” said coach Ruben Volta.

The Hornets hit .178 in the first set with 13 kills and 45 attacks. The leading women for this set were sophomore middle blocker Kendall LaVine (.500) and junior captain outside hitter Sloan Lovett (.375). Lovett led the team in with 16 attacks and six kills. The squad had a total of five errors in this set.

The second set was another win for the Thunderbirds with a score of 23-25.

LaVine continued to lead the team in this set hitting .667, and junior outside hitter Lauren Aikels close behind hitting .500. The Hornets improved their hitting percentage to .212 in the second set, with 33 attacks and 12 kills.

Junior outside hitter Lauren Kissell led the women with 23 attacks, Lovett close behind with 22. Sophomore libero Lexie Skalbeck had 11 total digs by the end of the second set.

Lovett said her team struggled in the first two sets giving away a lot of unearned errors. Lovett felt her team’s defense slowly progressed throughout the game.

“I think we had a lot of errors, just a lot of unforced errors,” Lovett said.

Volta also said the team’s performance got better as the match progressed but struggled in the begging.

“[The team struggled] defensively seeing the ball early, digging controlled balls, and then passing on serve receive, but we started passing better as the game went on,” Volta said.

Kissell felt the first two sets were attributed to her team warming up and gauging the opponents. She said after the first two sets the team was making improvements and attacking.

“I think we were just trying to figure out how they were going to play [and] what we were up against,” Kissell said. “It’s always kind of hard when you first go in and you start to get used to it in the third and fourth.”

The third set was a win for the Hornets, with a score of 25-22. The women had several back-to-back rallies, ending in kills to take the lead.

After a long rally with a tied score of 7-7, sophomore outside hitter Morgan Stanley had a kill to take the lead 8-7. Another long rally with the score at 9-9 had the Hornets battling and ultimately winning when Kissell had a key kill to take the lead at 10-9.

LaVine led the team hitting .667. Kissell doubled her kills in the third set to 16, with a total of 43 attacks. The team hit .267 with 45 attacks and 20 kills.

“I think we had a really good front row, and a lot of blocking, our defense was pretty good through the game,” Kissell said.

The fourth set was another win for the Hornets at 25-17. The women hit .375 with 32 attacks and 16 kills. The Thunderbirds hit .147 in the fourth set.

Sophomore middle blocker Courtney Dietrich led the squad hitting .333, with Lovett behind her hitting .306. The squad had a total of 76 digs by the fourth set, Skalbeck with 24, Stanley with 14 and freshman setter Kennedy Kurtz with 12.

In the fifth set the Hornets lost to Southern Utah at 13-15. The Hornets hit .143, with 28 attacks and nine kills. The team had a total of 10 service errors and four service aces. Stanley led the women hitting .290, Kissell hit .267 and Lovett hit .239.

Stanley said she is proud of the way her team played tonight and their aggressiveness after the first two sets. She said her team did not let the first two sets control the outcome.

“We came back pushing through the last two games, finishing off our home season. Yes it was a tough loss, but we fought our hardest and we still have next year since we haven’t lost any seniors,” Stanley said.

Kissell wishes the women walked away with the win, but overall feels the team ended on a good note.

“I’m upset about the loss,” Kissell said. “But I think we played the best we’ve played all year, and everyone was into it and there was so much energy [in the gym]. It was a good way to end the season.”

The Hornets ended the season 3-13 in the Big Sky, and 8-23 overall. Southern Utah will be moving forward into the Big Sky Conference championship tournament, going 6-10 in conference.