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Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

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Fresno State volleyball season ends in first round of NCAA tournament

Ella+Rud+%28left%29+and+Jenna+Legault+%28right%29+wait+for+the+ball+to+be+served+by+Wyoming+at+the+Save+Mart+Center+on+Oct.+21.+
Jacqueline Carrillo/The Collegian
Ella Rud (left) and Jenna Legault (right) wait for the ball to be served by Wyoming at the Save Mart Center on Oct. 21.

It took the No. 2 nationally ranked Stanford to put an end to the Fresno State volleyball team’s historic season.

The Bulldogs were swept by the Cardinal in Palo Alto on Dec. 1 during the first round of the NCAA women’s volleyball tournament.

This marked Fresno State’s fifth NCAA tournament appearance in program history, the last one being 21 years ago in 2002.

The first set was a competitive one as the lead constantly switched back and forth between both sides.

Fresno State battled to stay within three points of the Cardinal for most of the set and was ahead six times.

Near the end, it was tied at 21 points each before Stanford won four consecutive points to win the first set 25-21.

The Bulldogs were putting up a fight and taking it to one of the biggest powerhouses in college volleyball.

However, Stanford began to gain momentum and showed why it is among the favorites to win the national championship.

The Cardinal dominated in the second set, winning 25-12.

The third set was no different as Stanford took it 25-15 to complete the sweep and eliminate Fresno State from the tournament.

Middle blocker Addison Haluska and outside hitter Ella Rud led Fresno State on the offense with seven kills each.

Libero Dionii Fraga was yet again a leader on defense with 14 digs.

Despite Fraga’s efforts to keep the ball in play on every attack, the ‘Dogs were unable to hold off a powerful Cardinal offense.

Stanford also took advantage of Fresno State’s hitting mistakes as it registered nine serving errors and 15 attacking errors.

The Cardinal also took advantage of its bigger size at the front line of the net to neutralize Fresno State’s attacks.

Stanford’s 6-foot-6 Sami Francis and 6-foot-5 Kendall Kipp each picked up five blocks and were two towers that fended off the Fresno State offense.

While Fresno State’s season may be over, Head Coach Leisa Rosen thinks her players have more to give for the next season after making it to the NCAA tournament.

From the first day she assumed her role as head coach Rosen said the players, many of them coming from last year’s 1-17 season in conference play, were itching for success.

“I saw a group that was very passionate about being here. I saw a group that was very motivated and very committed to being great,” Rosen said. “It’s a phenomenal experience, and I think that this is kind of a stepping stone for us being a routine or a typical NCAA tournament team,”

Rud said Rosen is helping bring the program to new heights.

“She’s great all around. She’s just brought a different level of competition to the program, and she’s just a very genuine person. Everything that comes from her is for everybody’s best interests. Everything is super straightforward and she’s honest with everything,” she said.

Apart from being one of the team’s key players throughout the season, Rud helped convince Haluska to come to Fresno after playing together for East Valley Juniors Volleyball Club in Arizona.

“I definitely tried to get Addison to come here,” Rud said.

After helping take the team to its first NCAA tournament in 21 years, the junior is excited about what she can give to the program next season.

“I think it’s cool that I get to carry on a legacy that past student athletes here have done and kind of elevate the program to a different level,” Rud said.

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