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CEDAR CITY, Utah - Southern Utah University will begin a three-game road swing this week when the Thunderbirds travel to Sacramento State, CSU Bakersfield and Northern Arizona.
“This will be an important week for us,” head coach Debby Baker said. “We need to do everything we can to move up the conference standings and feel that we have a great opportunity against these teams this week.”
SUU split its games against Sacramento State and Northern Arizona earlier this season in Cedar City, taking a 3-1 win over CSUS only to fall by the same score, 3-1, to NAU. The Thunderbirds are currently seventh in the league and only one game out of sixth place and a berth into the Big Sky Conference tournament.
Much of Southern Utah’s success this season has come by way of a strong block, as the T-Birds are third in the league with 2.52 per set average and 207 total on the year. Individually, Cashaana Renfro has paced the block with 93 this season, averaging 1.16 per set which ranks fifth in the conference.
Gabi Mirand is also tops individually in the league with 32 service aces and an average of 0.41 per set which ranks second. Analaine Mailoto is the final T-Bird in the top five of the Big Sky Conference, residing third in the league in kills with 314 on the year and an average of 3.92 per set.
Southern Utah will face Sacramento State on Thursday, Bakersfield on Saturday and Northern Arizona on Monday night with game time slated for 8:00 p.m. (MT). Live stats are anticipated to be available for each game with links online at www.suutbirds.com.
Scouting Sacramento State
Sacramento State will enter the match on Thursday night with an overall record of 7-15, including a 3-9 mark in Big Sky Conference play. The Hornets are currently on a three-game losing skid with losses at Santa Clara, Portland State and Eastern Washington.
CSUS is currently first in the league in blocking with 3.09 per set and a total of 393 on the year. Olivia Moss is tops on the team with 98 and is followed closely by Ashley Newcomb (97) and Kayla Beal (92). The Hornets are also tough behind the service line with 114 service aces and an average of 1.42 per set which ranks second in the conference.
Janelle Currey and Kayla Beal pace the Hornets’ offense with 231 and 201 kills, respectively. Currey is also second on the team in digs with 249, trailing only Sydney Kordic with 401.
Last time Against Sacramento State
Analaine Mailoto led the Thunderbirds with 18 kills and tallied 17 digs as the T-Bird block logged 18.0 blocks to lead Southern Utah to a 3-1 victory over Sacramento State in Cedar City on September 22.
Scouting CSU Bakersfield
CSU Bakersfield is currently 11-12 overall on the year and winners of four of its last six matches.
The Roadrunners are led offensively by Debora Araujo with a team-best 351 kills and an average of 4.13 per set. Araujo is second on the team in digs and service aces with 178 and 22, respectively.
CSUB has recorded 180 blocks on the year with Julia Bowen leading the way with 87. Mariah Alvidrez leads the team in digs with 256, averaging 3.01 per set.
Scouting Northern Arizona
Northern Arizona will host Sacramento State on Saturday night before welcoming the Thunderbirds to Flagstaff on Monday. The Lumberjacks are currently 18-3 overall and 10-2 in Big Sky Conference play. NAU’s only losses in conference have come against Portland State and Idaho State.
Northern Arizona is led offensively by Kelli Dallmann with 253 kills and an average of 3.29 per set. NAU ranks in the top five of the Big Sky Conference in hitting percentage, kills and assists.
The Lumberjacks have excelled defensively, leading the conference in opponents’ hitting percentage (.156) and rank second and third in blocks and digs, respectively.
Last time against Northern Arizona
Northern Arizona had three players with double-digit kill numbers as the Lumberjacks handed the Thunderbirds a 3-1 loss in Cedar City on September 24. Analaine Mailoto led SUU during the match with a double-double performance of 24 kills and 14 digs.