OREM, Utah (KVEO) – Fourth-seeded The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros volleyball team fell to the fifth-seeded Chicago State Cougars 0-3 (17-25, 21-25, 22-25) in the Western Athletic Conference Tournament Quarterfinals on Thursday at Lockhart Arena.
Sophomore Victoire Nama led the Vaqueros (2-15) with 14 kills, seven digs and two blocks. Junior Pamela Moreira recorded seven kills on .400 hitting with six digs and three blocks. Senior Samaret Caraballo posted six kills with three digs and two blocks. Senior Veronika Jandova finished with four kills and three blocks. Senior Debora Nazario dished out 30 assists with eight digs.
The Cougars won the first three serves of the match, but a Nama kill helped the Vaqueros respond to tie the set at 3. The Cougars responded by scoring six straight points as part of a 12-2 run to take a 15-5 lead. A kill by freshman Ada Bulgur helped the Vaqueros score the next three points to pull to within seven. Then, with the score 12-23, a Nama kill sparked a 4-0 run to bring the Vaqueros to within 16-23, but that’s as close as they got.
Down 0-2 early in the second set, the Vaqueros lit on fire, as three kills by Moreira and two by Caraballo fueled a 10-0 run to make the score 10-2. The Vaqueros extended their lead to 13-4 on a Nazario kill and 14-5 on a Jandova kill. The Cougars answered with a 15-4 run to take a 20-18 lead. The Vaqueros won the next two serves to tie the set at 20, but the Cougars scored five of the final six points.
The Cougars jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the third set and still led by three at 6-3 when a kill and two aces by Moreira sparked an 8-3 run to put the Vaqueros up 11-8. One serve later, a Nama kill put the Vaqueros up 12-9. The Cougars followed by scoring five straight points to regain the lead. The Vaqueros came back to tie the set at 15 on a block by Jandova and Caraballo, 16 on a Caraballo kill, and 17 on a Caraballo kill. The Cougars scored the next four points to take the lead, but the Vaqueros responded with their own 4-0 run to tie the set at 21 on a Jandova ace. The Cougars won the next three serves to reach match point. After a Nama kill brought the Vaqueros to within two, however, a Feliz kill ended the match.