Senior Anna Burgess logged a season-high 18 digs
SUU Strategic Communications

SUU Volleyball Stretches League-Leading Portland State to Five

November 01, 2012
By SUU Strategic Communication

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CEDAR CITY, Utah - Southern Utah University women's volleyball captured sets one and four against Portland State on Thursday night, forcing its first five-set match at home this season, but came up short in the final frame 15-6 in the defeat. The loss drops the T-Birds to 9-18 on the year and 5-10 in Big Sky Conference play while the Vikings remain atop the standings with a 14-1 conference mark and an overall record of 18-8.

"I really think we were the better team for most of the match tonight," assistant coach Adam Longmore said after the match. "Portland State came up big on some occasions and then showed why they are at the top of the conference standings in that final set."

The Vikings recorded a sideout on each of Southern Utah's serves during the final stanza and hit .471 to SUU's -.053 in the frame to clinch the set. However, it was a completely different story in the first set as the Thunderbirds opened with a .462 hitting percentage and held Portland State to a -.067 behind six teams blocks.

Southern Utah took its first lead of the match at 2-1 in the set and rolled from there, doubling up Portland State at one point, 18-9. A final four-point run by the Thunderbirds, including a Cashaana Renfro kill and Hailey Moore service ace, punctuated the set for the home side, 25-12.

Neither team could get any more than a two-point advantage in the second set as the two teams fought through 18 ties and six lead changes ultimately leading up to a 22-22 deadlock. The next four points played out with Portland State taking a lead only to have Southern Utah come back and tie the set each time. However, back-to-back attacking errors by SUU allowed the Vikings to take the extended set 26-24 and tie the match at 1-1.

Portland State used a three-point push in the middle of the third set to break an 11-11 tie and take a 14-11 lead. The Vikings then maintained the advantage  throughout the set with two more three-point runs down the stretch to take the set 25-17.

Southern Utah bounced back in the fourth set, capitalizing on a PSU attacking error to take the opening point, 1-0. The advantage stayed with the Thunderbirds throughout out most of the set with Portland State taking its only lead at 10-9. An Analaine Mailoto kill and Renfro, Marli Langford block put the lead back in the Thunderbirds' pocket at 11-10 and a final four-point run by the T-Birds at the end of the set gave the home side the victory 25-21, forcing the concluding fifth set.

Mailoto led all attackers with 16 kills and also led the T-Birds with a team-best 19 digs for her 11th double-double of the season. Kylie Schofield and Renfro joined her with double-digit kill numbers with 12 and 10, respectively. Schofield was also the most efficient hitter for the T-Birds on the night, hitting .310 (12-3-29).

Portland State was paced by a quartet of double-digit attackers in Jaklyn Wheeler (15), Aubrey Mitchell (15), Megan Ellis (11) and Leigh-Ann Haataja (10).

Southern Utah's block finished with 18.0 total blocks, tying the school record, set earlier this season, for the third time as Renfro and freshman Taylor Heine tied for the team lead with 9 blocks apiece. The SUU defense also logged its second-highest dig total of the season, recording 71 on the night.

The Thunderbirds will be back in action on Saturday night when SUU hosts Eastern Washington University at 7:00 p.m. in the Centrum Arena. Live stat and live video links are anticipated to be available online at