Analaine Mailoto led the T-Birds with 12 kills
SUU Strategic Communications

T-Birds Suffer Rare Three-Set Home Defeat

November 15, 2012
By SUU Strategic Communication

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CEDAR CITY, Utah - Southern Utah University women's volleyball suffered only its second three-set defeat at home this season in a loss to Northern Colorado on Thursday night. The loss doesn't eliminate the Thunderbirds from a tournament berth, but makes a victory on Saturday night a necessity.

"I just didn't see any fire tonight," head coach Debby Baker said after the match. "I hope that we can come out with a great deal of energy on Saturday night, because we just didn't have it tonight."

Northern Colorado opened the match on a 7-3 run and sided out Southern Utah on each of its first eight service rotations. The T-Birds fought off a pair of set points at 24-15 and 24-16 on an Alissa Youart kill and UNC hitting error, however, a final kill by the Bears wrapped up the set 25-17.

The game was tighter in the second set with the teams battling through six ties and four lead changes over the opening 16 points. UNC broke the final tie at 8-8 with a three-point run to take an 11-8 lead and never looked back. A second three-point run by the Bears finished off the set 25-16 in favor of the visitors.

Northern Colorado broke a similar tie in the beginning of the third set with a three-point run at 6-6 to take a 9-6 lead. Southern Utah answered with a counter run to pull within one at 10-9, but were unable to get any closer. SUU sided out on each of its final four servers with a final UNC kill punctuating the match, 25-18 for the Bears.

Analaine Mailoto led the Thunderbird attack with 12 kills as Tambre Haddock paced the Bears with 16, hitting .538 (16-2-26).

The loss drops the T-Birds to 11-20 on the year and 7-12 in Big Sky play. However, tournament hopes are still alive as Montana State was down 2-0 to Sacramento State at the time of this story. A victory for Southern Utah on Saturday, coupled with a loss by Montana State on Monday night at Montana would lead to a tie-breaker between the two schools for the final tournament berth. Sacramento State could also figure into the mix if the Hornets win tonight and at home against Montana on Saturday night.

Game time for Southern Utah's season finale on Saturday night against North Dakota is set for 7:00 p.m. SUU's four seniors, Analaine Mailoto, Cashaana Renfro, Stephanie Stearman and Anna Burgess will be honored following the match as part of "Senior Night" activities. Fans can follow the match online at where live video and live stat links are anticipated to be available.