Ericson’s Nevada volleyball team sweeps Boise
Sun News Service
The wins just keep piling up for Tahoe City native Teal Ericson and her University of Nevada volleyball team.
Three players hit above the .400 mark as Nevada rolled to its third straight win and eight of its last 10 Saturday night in a three-game sweep of Boise State. The Wolf Pack beat the Broncos 30-25, 30-18 and 30-26 in front of 425 fans at the Virginia Street Gym.
“We’re seeing improvement, especially in the younger players,” Nevada coach Devin Scruggs said. “The game plan was to get the ball to the middle. We’re starting to get really used to winning.”
Nevada (8-4 Western Athletic Conference, 8-4) handed Boise State (1-11 WAC, 4-18) its seventh loss in row as the Wolf Pack heads on the road this week before returning home for Hawaii and San Jose State.
Seniors Ericson and Karly Sipherd each posted match highs in kills with 16. Sipherd blasted a .565 attack percentage, Ericson had a .448 and freshman Lindsay Baldwin rounded out with a .412 and nine kills.
“Even when we’re down in a game, we don’t believe it,” Sipherd said. “We’re going to win. In this game we definitely found our confidence and we’ve progressed so much.”
Senior Ashley Miller dished out 41 assists and sophomore reserve Sonnie Sei had 11 in the third game. Junior Allison Hernandez led in digs.
“It’s just great and it bodes well for the future,” Scruggs said about the underclassmen’s playing time. “Sonnie does a great job. She doesn’t get enough playing time like she should.”
As to breaking out of an early-season slump, Miller said practices have escalated to a higher level.
“The practices have been more intense and we’ve been working on not letting balls drop,” Miller said. “It feels quite nice actually.”
Nevada dominated both sides of the net, hitting a thundering .307 as opposed to Boise State’s .112 and out-blocked the Broncos, 9-4.
“You can tell we’re playing well together,” Sipherd said. “We’re trying not to plateau too early.”
Sipherd said with the WAC Tournament a couple weeks away, it’s important that Nevada takes care of business at Sacramento State on Tuesday and at home versus Hawaii on Thursday. Wins over Sacramento State and nationally-ranked Rainbow Wahine only strengthen Nevada’s chances of an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
“They’re a good team to beat,” Sipherd said of Sacramento State. “It will be good for us to take advantage of. It makes us more determined to be in the tournament. It makes us want to work very hard.”
Miller agreed with Sipherd and wants to snap Nevada’s losing streak to Hawaii.
“We have a lot of players who can do a lot of things,” Miller said. “We need to take a win from Hawaii.”
Scruggs, whose team hasn’t made it past the WAC Tournament since 2005, can tell her team is making progress toward returning to the Big Dance.
“The last four years, we’re getting them to buy into the system,” Scruggs said. “Hawaii is a phenomenal team. They’re very, very good. I would love to compete with them.”
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