Sariah Pelaez logged a five-set match record 31 digs to lead the T-Bird defense
SUU Strategic Communications

SUU Volleyball Snaps Streak, Sets Records in Five Set Victory

November 04, 2013
By SUU Strategic Communication

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CEDAR CITY, Utah - Southern Utah University women's volleyball snapped its 14-match losing streak with a five-set victory over Northern Arizona on Monday night. The win included a pair of school records as the Thunderbird defense recorded 104 digs with freshman Sariah Pelaez leading the way with a five-set record 31. The win moves the T-Birds to 3-22 on the year and 2-12 in the Big Sky, with NAU now 16-7 and 10-4 in conference.

"This was a complete team effort tonight," head coach Debby Baker said after recording her 50th career victory. "We are a team that doesn't have that one athlete that can take over a match. The whole team did a great job to get the win tonight."

Southern Utah raced to a double-digit lead in the first set, breaking a 6-6 tie with a 13-3 run to take a 19-9 lead, capped by an Alissa Youart kill. The T-Birds then took their first set point on another Youart kill, one of 14 on the night for the senior, to put the score at 24-15. The Lumberjacks extended the set by fighting off three set points to push the frame to 24-18, but a punctuating kill by Youart wrapped up the game 25-18.

The second set proved to be much closer as Southern Utah would take a lead and the Lumberjacks would come right back to tie the frame. The Thunderbirds led 22-20 late in the set, but NAU made its final comeback with a three-point push to take a 23-22 lead. SUU answered with a Youart kill, tying the match at 23-23 and the same scenario played out over the next two rallies with an Ann Clappier tying the match at 24-24. However, the Lumberjacks were able to outlast the Thunderbirds, collecting back-to-back points to tie the match at 1-1 with a 26-24 victory.

The third set was another close affair with 11 ties and seven lead changes. Northern Arizona captured its largest lead at 17-14, but a four-point run by Southern Utah beginning with a Clappier/Lusia Angliau block and ending with a Clappier kill gave the home side an 18-17 lead. The two teams later squared the frame at 20-20, but an NAU error followed by four consecutive kills by Southern Utah, including three from senior Kylie Schofield, gave the Thunderbirds a 2-1 lead with the 25-20 victory.

SUU's momentum carried over into the fourth set as the T-Birds scored the first three points behind a Joanna Christenson service ace and blocks from the duos of Clappier/Angilau and Angilau/Schofield. The prosperity didn't last for the home side late into the set as NAU broke a 17-17 deadlock with a five-point run to take a 22-17 lead. The Thunderbirds stopped the run with a Schofield kill, but were unable to stop the Lumberjacks from taking the set 25-19 and forcing a decisive fifth.

Southern Utah entered the final set only 1-3 this season when matches extended to five sets, but collected the first three points of the frame behind a Christenson service ace and back-to-back kills by Schofield and Angilau. The Thunderbirds' advantage only narrowed to one at 6-5, but a four-point run by the home side created more wiggle room and ultimately led to Southern Utah taking its first set point at 14-8. NAU used a kill and an SUU error to reach 10 points, but a final kill by Schofield wrapped up the set and match for Southern Utah with the 15-10 victory.

Schofield led all hitters during the night with a match-high 19 kills and was joined in double-digits by Youart (14), Clappier (12) and Angilau with a career-best 12. Taylor Heine narrowly missed a double-digit night with nine kills as the team finished with 70, the third highest in a five-set match in school history.

Southern Utah's defense had its best match in school history, logging a school-record104 digs as five players finished the night with double-digit numbers. Pelaez' 31, a five-set school record, led the way and was followed by Youart and Hailey Moore with 18 and Christenson and Jenna Bradfield with 14. Christenson finished her night with her team-best eighth double-double of the season after recording 59 assists. SUU's block was also strong on the night, tallying 17.0 with Clappier, Heine and Angilau leading the way with seven.

Southern Utah will return to the court, looking to continue its winning ways, on Thursday night when the team travels to Portland State. The match is scheduled to begin at 8:00 p.m. (MT) with live stat and live video links available online at