After taking the first two sets from the Utah Valley University Wolverines, The University of Texas-Pan American Broncs volleyball team dropped three-straight close sets to fall 3-2 on Thursday at the UTPA Fieldhouse in front of a crowd of 406.
The loss snaps the Broncs TM (8-11, 1-1 Great West Conference) five-match winning streak.
At 3,017 fans through four home matches, the Broncs now have their second-highest single season attendance total in program history. The Broncs are now 250 fans away from breaking the single season program record for attendance of 3,266, set in 1995. That record was set in 11 matches. The Broncs have four regular season home matches remaining.
Each of the first three sets was tied at 23-23 before a winner was decided. The Broncs won the first two sets after late comebacks.
In the first, the Broncs trailed 20-16, but after a service error by McKenna Tait, Diara Reynolds came up with a pair of aces to bring the Broncs within one. After an Erica Nish kill gave the Wolverines (8-7, 1-0 GWC) a 21-19 lead, Haley Durham came up with a kill and an ace to tie the set at 21-21. A little later, the Broncs found themselves down 23-22, but an attack error by Tait tied the set, and then a block by Sarah Davis and Nycole Masaki gave the Broncs their first try at set point. The Wolverines did not go quietly, and it took the Broncs three tries at set point, but finally a block by Durham and Krysta Freitas ended the set at 27-25.
In the second set, the Broncs again found themselves down 20-17, but again came back to tie it up at 21-21, this time on a kill by Michelle McNamee. The Wolverines scored the next two on kills by Lindsay Morrell and Katie Fritzler to take a 23-21 lead, but an attack error by Bailey Farris and a kill by Krysta Freitas tied things up at 23-23. After a timeout by the Wolverines, Davis and Reynolds came up with kills to give the Broncs the 25-23 win.
In the third, the Broncs were down 19-16, but scored four straight, the last three of which came on attack errors by Nish, to take a 20-19 lead. A little later, a Freitas kill gave the Broncs a 23-22 lead, but a kill by Farris, an attack error by McNamee and a kill by Brookelyn Hall gave the Wolverines a 25-23 win.
The Broncs trailed 20-12 in the fourth set, but three kills by Reynolds fueled a 9-0 run as the Broncs came back to take a 21-20 lead. The Wolverines called for timeout and then came out and got two kills from Nish, an ace from Tait, and a pair of blocks to win the set 25-21.
The Broncs were down 4-1 early in the fifth set, and got as close as 10-9 on a kill by Davis, but the Wolverines scored five of the final six points to win 15-10.
Reynolds led the Broncs with a match-high 16 kills while Freitas had 13 kills and 17 digs for her third double-double. McNamee had a double-double with 10 kills and a career-high 18 digs. Masaki also had a double-double with 48 assists and 15 digs.
Juri Franzen tied her career-high with a season-high 35 digs. It was the 13th 20+ digs match of her career and her eighth of the season. Franzen ranks second all-time in 20+ digs matches, trailing only Jaclyn Muszynski (2000-03), who had 15.
Nish led the Wolverines with 11 kills. Hall had 39 assists and Tait had 29 digs.
The Broncs return to action with an exhibition match against the Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon Tigres on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. at the UTPA Fieldhouse.