Gonzaga University volleyball opened the second day of the Northwest Challenge with an exhilarating morning match against Boise State University that saw the Zags push the Broncos to five sets but coming up just shy.
Gonzaga (0-2) took a thrilling fourth set to extend the match but ultimately the Broncos (1-1) took the 3-2 decision (19-25, 25-17, 25-21, 28-30, 15-11) at the Peter W. Stott Center. GU has dropped four consecutive matches to BSU with the last victory coming in the 2009 Northwest Challenge.
The Bulldogs, trailing two sets to one, were trying to prolong the match in the critical fourth set and took advantage of five Bronco errors to gain an early 7-2 edge. However, BSU flipped the script and pushed the set to a tie at 11.
Both sides battled but Boise State seemed poised to close the match with a late 6-1 run giving themselves an opportunity for match point at 24-22. Gonzaga would not go down without a fight and kills from redshirt freshman Imani Wimbush, senior Kristina Lavrisha tied the set at 24.
Back-and-forth the squads contended to a 28 tie when a BSU attack error and a Savannah Blinn service ace extended the match for Gonzaga. The first to 15 in the final frame would pick up its first victory of the season.
Tied at seven in the final frame, Boise State began to stifle the Zags attack. Behind a 5-2 run, the Broncos held its lead to take the set 15-11. Senior Meredith Crenshaw added four of her nine kills in the deciding set but GU attack could not match the Bronco output.
Earlier in the match, the Zags opened the first set like they closed it, on a 4-0 run. Lavrisha played a large part in the offense for GU by accounting for eight kills in the frame. Lavrisha tallied the final four points for the GU to give the Bulldogs an early 1-0 set lead.
Additionally in the first, redshirt freshman Paige Folger made her defensive presence known. She recorded three of her six blocks and her efforts were a major cause for the Zags out blocking the Broncos five to two in the set.
Boise State opened the second set and quickly doubled up the Zags with a 6-3 edge. The Broncos continued to outpace Gonzaga prompting head coach Dave Gantt to use a timeout trailing 10-5.
GU battled but was responsible for slowing themselves. Eight attack errors and three service errors halted any offensive momentum and BSU went on to tie the match 1-1 by winning the set 25-17.
The third set was a back-and-forth stalemate with both sides unable to gain an advantage. Blinn added three timely kills but Boise State grabbed the first advantage in the set with a 13-9 lead.
Gonzaga used a timeout and kept pace with the Broncos but was unable to tie or take the lead. Trailing just a point at 21-20, GU dropped four of the final five points as BSU took the 2-1 sets edge. From there the Bulldogs would rally in the fourth before dropping the fifth.
Blinn led the Bulldogs with 16 kills and two service aces followed by Lavrisha's 14 kills (a career-best). Sophomore Lauren Joseph and junior Janelle Futch split setting duties with 31 and 23 assists, respectively. Lavrisha (12), Joseph (11) and freshman Morgan Douglass (17) all finished with double digit digs.
GU closes out the Northwest Challenge with its toughest task yet. The Bulldogs face in-state rival and the fifth-ranked University of Washington at 5 p.m.
Courtesy: Gonzaga Athletics