BERKELEY, Calif. – In a down-to-the wire, five-set match, the University of Nevada volleyball team fell 3-2 (21-25, 25-22, 20-25, 25-23, 8-15) to UCSB on Saturday, concluding play at the Cal Molten Classic.
With the loss, the Wolf Pack fell to 0-3, while UCSB improved to 1-1.
The fifth-and-final game went to UCSB 15-8, but the Pack fought out of 1-0 and 2-1 holes to push the match to five games.
Game four was tied at 18 before two straight points from UCSB. With the match hanging in the balance, Nevada climbed back into it with three straight points, forcing UCSB to call a time out. Coming out of the break, the teams traded points before combination of Tessa Lea’ea and Donna Greely put the Pack a point away at 24-22 with a block on the outside. Two points later, a kill from Lea’ea got Nevada into a fifth-and-deciding game.
She finished with a match-high 20 kills and added 8.5 blocks (four solo, nine assisted). Aided by a host of other players, particularly on defense, Lea’ea pushed the Gauchos to the brink. Sam Willoughby had 14 kills, a season high, while newcomer Madison Morell had 11 to climb into double figures for the first time in her career. Morell also added eight digs.
Greely had five kills and four blocks (one solo, three assisted). Setter Dana Holt was a pass shy of 50 assists, finishing with 49. She added 10 digs to post a double-double, Nevada’s first in 2013.Grace Anxo had 15 digs and Kara Kasser had 12.
The Pack had 15 blocks as a team, including five of the solo variety.
In game two, Nevada outlasted the Gauchos to claim its first set of the season. With the Pack up 21-19, Lea’ea and Morell combined on a block up the middle that propelled the Pack to the win.
Game three went to UCSB despite some serious production from the middle of the Nevada lineup. Lea’ea and Willoughby combined for 11 kills in the third game alone.
Nevada will return to the court when it opens the Wolf Pack Classic on Thursday, meeting UC Davis at 7 p.m. at the Virginia Street Gym.