By SUU ATHLETICS STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION
CEDAR CITY– After coming out strong and winning the first set, the Thunderbirds dropped to next three sets against the Idaho Vandals. MaCail Evans and Macky Fifita were the driving forces for the team, each of them hitting double digits kills for the match.
This was the inaugural match played in the newly named America First Event Center.
Southern Utah came out with some fierce play to begin the match. Although the Vandals jumped ahead to a 6-1 lead, the Thunderbirds fought back to close the gap. With the score tied at 21-21. Fifita came through in the clutch with two kills in the next four points and Southern Utah went on a 4-0 run to win the set.
Going into the second set, the momentum began to shift. Idaho pulled ahead to a 17-10 lead. Despite 11 digs each for Fifita and Alexis Averett, it wasn’t enough to retake control of the set. The Vandals won the second set 25-22.
In the third set, Idaho started to take control. Outside hitter, Kaela Straw, put up a strong performance with 22 kills and a .312 hitting percentage. Also, an 11-0 run by the Vandals in the set was simply too much to overcome, and Idaho won the second set 25-13.
After the Vandals jumped ahead to an early 11-4 lead, it looked as if the fourth set might mirror the third. However, Southern Utah had different plans. They battled back to even things up at 17-17. A couple kills from outside hitter, Sarah Sharp, ended the run though and helped propel the Vandals forward. Idaho won the final set 25-22.
Evans was once again the standout player for Southern Utah. She hit 13 kills on the match with a .306 hitting percentage. Miranda Canez also had a solid performance. She hit six kills with zero errors.
Southern Utah will take the court again later this week at home on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. MT in the America First Event Center. They will be competing against the Eagles of Eastern Washington.
A live stream of Saturday’s match will be on PlutoTV. An app can be downloaded to access PlutoTV programming, or you can visit pluto.tv/watch. All Thunderbird home programming will be available on channel 236.
Live stats will be available on suutbirds.com prior to the start of the match