No. 7 seed UNLV Defeats No. 3 TCU in Semifinal Action at the MW Volleyball Championship
Rebels advance to Sunday's final against winner of Colorado State/Wyoming
Nov. 19, 2011
2011 MW Volleyball Championship Central
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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - No. 7 seed UNLV became the lowest seed ever to reach the Mountain West Volleyball Championship Final when it defeated third-seeded TCU, 3-1, in Saturday's semifinal at the Johnson Center. With the win, the Rebels move on to the finals at 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20, where they'll face the winner of Saturday's other semifinal between top-seeded CSU and No. 4 Wyoming. The match will be televised live on CBS Sports Network (DirecTV 613).
TCU jumped out to the early lead with a 25-22 victory in the first set. After that it was all UNLV as the Rebels took a 25-14 victory to even it at a set each at the break. UNLV outfought the Horned Frogs for a 25-23 victory in the third set to go up 2-1 before clinching its trip to the finals with a 25-19 win in game four.
"It's absolutely amazing, especially since we've come from being a No. 7 seed to being in the championship," said UNLV head coach Cindy Fredrick. "At the same time, we looked at the bracket and we liked our (side of the) bracket. We said, 'We've split with both of these teams and there's no reason why we can't beat them again.' I think that was what really drove our players and the fact that they knew that they could play better than they had been playing."
Four Rebels finished in double-figures in the kills department as they finished with a .251 kill percentage as a squad. Candice Thomas and Sekola Falemaka both finished with career highs in the kills with 20 and 16, respectively. Makenzie Moea'i put down 16 kills while Madeline Westman added 13. Setter Stephanie Thelen tied a career-best in set assists with 56.
The Rebels will make their second consecutive trip to the MW Volleyball Championship Final. They won the title match 3-2 over fifth-seeded Utah in Las Vegas in 2007 before a three-year hiatus for the tournament.
"It means a lot," Thomas said of reaching the final. "We came into this as the underdogs. Showing everybody up would be nice. We just came in really focused. We know our scouting reports so we know what we have to do."
With the win the Rebels' season continues and their record improves to 14-16, while the Horned Frogs are 23-7 and finish the regular season at the Aztec Thanksgiving Tournament next week.