Lusia Angilau led the team in blocks in game two
SUU Strategic Communications

Thunderbirds Suffers a Pair of Defeats on Day One in Omaha

September 06, 2013
By SUU Strategic Communication
OMAHA, Neb. - Southern Utah University women's volleyball suffered a pair of defeats on day one of the Omaha Marriott Classic, falling to SIU Edwardsville 3-1 in the first match of the day and 3-0 to Bradley University in the afternoon. The losses drop the Thunderbirds to 0-5 on the year.

Southern Utah took the first set against SIU Edwardsville despite trailing by five, 12-7, in the early goings of the stanza. The T-Birds closed the gap by putting together a 7-3 run to tie the set at 15-15 and then capitalized on an Annie Stradling and Mikayla Dunford block and Dunford kill to take a 17-15 lead. The advantage held until SIUE tied the set again at 19-19, but a Kylie Schofield kill gave the Thunderbirds a 20-19 lead and a lead the team wouldn't give up again. An SUU serving error on set point at 24-21 prolonged the frame, but a final kill by freshman Ann Clappier punctuated the set 25-22 in the Thunderbirds' favor.

Southern Utah's offense then went cold over the final three sets as the team hit a combined -.053 over the final three frames. SIUE took the second set 25-12 and the third set 25-13, hitting .273 and .214 to Southern Utah's -.156 and .000, respectively.

The fourth set was more competitive as the Thunderbirds carried the lead to the 15-point threshold with a 15-13 advantage. SIUE came back to tie the match 15-15 as the teams fought through two more deadlocks at 16-16 and 17-17 before a three-point push by the Cougars prompted a Southern Utah timeout at 20-17. The Thunderbirds came within one, 23-22, down the stretch, but back-to-back kills by SIUE wrapped up the match for the Cougars, 25-22.

Annie Stradling and Taylor Heine were the only attackers for Southern Utah that carried a positive hitting percentage during the match as the offense struggled to connect. Stradling also tied for the team lead in aces, finishing along side Jenna Bradfield with two apiece. Freshman Sariah Pelaez continued to shine on defense, leading the team with 23 digs - a mark that is No. 6 all-time in a four-set match for Southern Utah.

In the second match of the day, Bradley tallied the first point in the opening set against the Thunderbirds and held onto the lead until an 11-5 run by Southern Utah tied the frame late at 22-22. However, BU recorded three consecutive kills to close out the set 25-22 and take a 1-0 lead.

The two teams fought through five ties in the second set, but back-to-back points by Bradley broke the final 5-5 deadlock and gave the Braves a 7-5 lead. BU maintained its advantage the rest of the set to take it 25-16 and with it a 2-0 lead.

Southern Utah opened the third set strong, taking the first three points on a BU error and a pair of kills from Lusia Angilau. Bradley came back to tie the set at 5-5 and the two teams swapped the lead back-and-forth through four more ties through 11-11. The Braves then utilized an 8-2 run to build a 19-13 lead and used the momentum to take their first match point at 24-16. A Bradley error stretched the match to one more point, but a BU kill finished the set 25-17 for the Braves.

SUU's offense was led by Dunford who finished with a team-best 11 kills with Schofield and Angilau close behind with nine and eight kills, respectively. The team also recorded its best hitting percentage of the season, a .234 clip, after suffering through its poor showing in the morning against SIUE. Jenna Bradfield led the defense with 15 digs with Angilau pacing the T-Bird block with five of the team's total of seven.

Southern Utah will wrap up the tournament in Omaha against Nebraska-Omaha Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. (MT). Live stats and a free video feed are anticipated to be available online at