Zags Close 2016 in Thrilling Fashion
Nov. 21, 2016
PORTLAND, Ore.—The Gonzaga University volleyball team saw an exciting end to the 2016 season Monday as the Bulldogs twice came back against Portland, beating the Pilots in five sets (17-25, 25-19, 22-25, 25-22, 15-11) to clinch the squad’s best record since 1990.
The Pilots jumped out to an early lead in the match, winning eight of the first nine points and extending that margin to 10 at 3-13. The Zags were able to rally within five at the 15-20 mark, but Portland closed out the first set 17-25.
In the second, Gonzaga used a four-point run to open up a permanent set advantage. With the score tied at 6-6, McKayla Ferris landed back-to-back kills, and both Katelyn Oppio and Imani Wimbush scored during the run as well. Portland was able to cut its deficit in half at 13-11, but another three-point stretch for GU halted the Pilots’ momentum. The Zags closed out the frame at 25-19, and Ferris landed her 1,000th kill during the set as well.
Coming out of the break, the third set was tightly contested with eight tie scores and five lead changes, but the Zags scored five in a row to take a 19-16 advantage. They held that margin up to 22-19, but Portland stunned the visitors by winning the final six points and taking a 2-1 match lead.
The fourth set was once again a tight one. The Pilots did take a four-point advantage early in the frame, but the Zags erased that with four straight tallies, tying the frame at 11-all. After the teams traded points to a 16-16 tie, Ferris landed a kill and went back to serve. She served up two more points for Gonzaga, and the Bulldogs held on to win the frame 25-22.
In the deciding fifth set, the Bulldogs took an early 4-1 lead, scoring off two blocks and two kills. The Pilots won the next two and then eventually tied the frame at 7-7, but Ferris gave the Zags the lead again with a kill, and an errant Pilot attack put the Zags back up by two. After a brief sideout, the Zags won the next three tallies, including a kill each from Wimbush and Emmy Allen. Portland won the next two to halve its’ deficit at 13-11, but Wimbush earned a sideout after a GU timeout, and the Zags scored the clincher when another Portland attack went wide.
Zag Speak: Thoughts from Gonzaga head coach Diane Nelson
With the end of the regular season, the Zags will now look towards 2017. They say goodbye to six seniors – Allen, Bradley, Douglass, Ferris, Folger, and Wimbush – but return 10 underclassmen. For the latest information on Gonzaga volleyball, visit www.GoZags.com or follow the team on Twitter at @ZagsVball.
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