Sariah Pelaez
SUU Strategic Communications

Pelaez Named All-Tournament as T-Birds Drop Two on Day Two

August 31, 2013
By SUU Strategic Communication
MOBILE, Ala. - Southern Utah University women's volleyball dropped both of its final matches at the Jaguar Invite on Saturday, falling to the host, South Alabama, 3-0 and then lost the following match against Tennessee State 3-1. The losses leave the Thunderbirds with an 0-3 record on the year.

"I'm disappointed in our peaks and valleys this weekend," head coach Debby Baker said. "We need to figure out how to close out games because it seemed, at times, that we were playing not to lose rather than playing to win."

In the first match of the day, Southern Utah looked like it would pick up a victory in the first set against USA after breaking a 12-12 tie with a 5-1 run to take a 17-13 lead. The advantage held until back-to-back attacking errors late in the frame tied the game at 23-23. A matching South Alabama service error on the next play gave the T-Birds a set point at 24-23, but the Jaguars came back with a kill, tying the match at 24-24. Back-to-back attacking errors by the T-Birds gave USA the first set 26-24.

The Thunderbirds gave away five points on service errors in the frame and committed a matching five service errors in the second set, committing the second midway through the set, breaking a 9-9 deadlock to give the Jaguars a 10-9 advantage. The point kickstarted a four-point swing by USA to give the home side a 13-9 lead. Southern Utah came back to within one point, 13-12, with three straight points, including kills from Kylie Schofield and Lusia Angilau. However, it was as close as the T-Birds came as a 7-2 Jaguar run built a 20-14 lead and carried the team to a 25-19 finish in the set.

Southern Utah got out to a slow start at the beginning of the third set, falling behind 4-0 before a Hailey Moore kill put the first point on the board, 4-1. South Alabama maintained the momentum throughout the set, building its largest lead at 19-10 and took the set and match with the 25-16 victory.

Schofield and Annie Stradling led Southern Utah's offense with eight kills each with Sariah Pelaez pacing the T-Bird defense with 15 digs, her second double-digit dig performance in as many matches. Joanna Christenson finished the match with 28 assists and led the team with two service aces.

Southern Utah took its first set of the tournament in the team's finale against Tennessee State, scoring a 26-24 victory in the first set. SUU broke a 5-5 tie early in the frame with a 10-5 run to take a 15-10 lead and force a Tiger timeout. TSU fought back to bring the margin to two, 17-15, but a timeout called by head coach Debby Baker refocused the team and began a three point push to give the T-Birds a 20-15 lead.

SUU had its first set point at 24-22 on a Tennessee State error, but back-to-back kills by the Tigers tied the match at 24-24. A Schofield kill ended the run and gave Southern Utah another set point at 25-24 and a final TSU miscue ended the set 26-24 for SUU.

The teams fought through nine ties in the second set before back-to-back points by Tennessee State broke a 14-14 deadlock and gave the Tigers a 16-14 lead and led to a Southern Utah timeout. TSU maintained the lead down the stretch, ending the set on a four-point run to even the match 1-1 with the 25-17 win.

Southern Utah led early in the third set, but was caught by TSU as the Tigers used a 6-2 run to flip a 10-9 SUU lead into a 15-12 advantage of their own, leading to a Thunderbird timeout. The margin grew to four, 22-18, until SUU used a pair of kills, one block and a Tiger error to tie the set at 22-22. However, the Thunderbirds suffered another late push by the Tigers, falling 25-23 on a 3-1 TSU run that ended the frame.

SUU trailed start-to-finish in the final set, hitting -.037 with seven kills and eight errors on 27 attempts. The eight errors were more than half of the errors the team committed all game, with only 13 total attacking miscues during the entire match. Tennessee State also suffered through its own fair share of mistakes, committing eight attacking errors that allowed the Thunderbirds to stay close, including a one-point margin at 15-14. The Tigers capitalized on three kills over the final four points to take the set 25-20 and with it the match, 3-1.

Schofield, once again, led all attackers with 11 kills and was followed by Angilau who turned in a career-high eights kills on 13 attempts, hitting a career-best .615 during the night. The redshirt senior also led the team in blocks with five as Pelaez led the defense with 16 digs, earning all-tournament accolades for the true freshman. Christenson recorded all of the team's 32 total assists during the contest.

Southern Utah will be back in action next week at a tournament hosted by Nebraska-Omaha, facing SIU Edwardsville, Bradley and UNO. Live stats for each of the matches are anticipated to be available online at