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Fresno State volleyball advances to the Mountain West Tournament

Ella+Rud+and+Jenna+Legualt+wait+for+the+ball+to+be+served+against+Wyoming+at+The+Save+Mart+Center+on+Oct.+21.+
Jacqueline Carrillo/The Collegian
Ella Rud and Jenna Legualt wait for the ball to be served against Wyoming at The Save Mart Center on Oct. 21.

For the first time in history, Fresno State volleyball is heading to the Mountain West Conference (MWC) tournament. 

The Bulldogs had their regular season come to an end Saturday, Nov. 18, falling to Boise State in four sets. 

Despite the loss, the Bulldogs (16-13, 10-8) clinched the fifth seed in the MWC under first-year Head Coach Leisa Rosen, leading them to the tournament with a shot at program history. 

“It’s the tip of the iceberg as far as training is concerned,” Rosen said. “I think that the desire to get better and the work ethic is there. I couldn’t be more excited about continuing with this group for another week.”

After finishing just 1-17 in conference a year ago, the Bulldogs were ranked dead last in the MWC preseason polls. A few months later, the team improved its conference record tenfold. 

“I think to prove everybody wrong has been something that we’re super proud of,” middle blocker Grace Doyle said. “We have a motto saying, ‘why not us?’ and it basically means just don’t count us out. Anything can happen.” 

Doyle herself has made quite an impact during her time at Fresno State, including setting the school record in blocks. The redshirt senior is also approaching a big milestone, being just three kills away from 1,000.

The Broncos dominated early and often, taking a 12-6 lead during the first set and forcing the Bulldogs to take a time out. Fresno State responded with a pair of points, including a kill from Jenna Legault. 

The set went back and forth with the Bulldogs closing the gap to three points at 19-16 before the Broncos finished with a 6-3 run to win the set, 25-19.

Fresno State made things competitive in the second set, a kill from Ella Rud and an assist from Brooke Cowie evened the score 7-7. 

The rest of the set was all Boise State however, making an 18-7 run to win the second set, pushing the ‘Dogs up against the wall. 

The third set was a different story. With eight ties and three lead changes, the Red Wave rallied behind the volleyball team with cheers to win the set 26-24, including a kill from Olivia Keller to keep the team’s hopes alive. 

The fourth set was even more chaotic with ten ties and five lead changes. Fresno State seemed poised to tie the game after taking a 21-18 lead but failed to capitalize. 

Three attack errors and a physical front court from Boise State led to the Broncos taking seven of the final nine points of the game, winning the fourth and final set 25-23. 

“I don’t think that in the first two sets that we played our style of volleyball. When we came back from the break, we did,” Rosen said. “We put ourselves into a deficit and were playing from behind the whole time. That’s not the way you want to do it.”

Following the game, the team honored its three seniors: Hannah Waters, Molly Epright and Doyle for their time and dedication to the program. 

The ‘Dogs will rematch with the fourth seeded Broncos on Wednesday, Nov. 22 at the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas at 1 p.m.

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