NAMPA, Idaho – The stellar season of Dixie State volleyball came to a close Saturday night with a 3-1 loss to Sonoma State in the finals of the NCAA West Regionals.
The No. 8 seed Red Storm (22-9) took down the No. 1 and 5 seeds to get to the finals and just missed running the table to earn a spot as a regional champion at the NCAA Division II Volleyball Championships. Dixie State improved on last season’s mark on just making the postseason to winning two matches in dramatic fashion and putting together a banner year for the program.
“It was a ‘Cinderella’ season for sure. What a year! Not the ending we wanted but one heck of a postseason,” head coach Robyn Felder said. “I am so proud of their efforts. They fought like champions and I can’t say enough about what a phenomenal group of athletes they are.”
The match was the final contest for Dixie State seniors Kara Cotter of Hurricane, Maddie Rex, Nicole Koehler and Kendahl Weiland. Cotter had 14 digs on the night while Rex had nine kills and nine digs, Koehler added 11 kills, five digs and four blocks while Weiland posted eight kills and six blocks.
Dixie State gave up a 7-0 run to Sonoma State early in the first set that put the Storm in a deep hole. A quick four-straight points, though, brought them back in it to trail just 13-10. The Seawolves looked to be in sync the first set though and started to pull away and won the first set 25-18.
The second set stayed close all the way down to the end. After trailing by as many as six points, the Red Storm trimmed the lead down to a one-point game but couldn’t get any closer. Sonoma State snuck away with two of the last three points to win 25-23 and take a 2-0 lead in the match.
The season wouldn’t end yet as Dixie State had no plans to just roll over after coming so far.
Dixie State started slow again and fell behind, but rallied to come back and took an 11-10 edge. From that point to the finish it was neck-and-neck for the Red Storm to stay alive. DSU needed some extra points but finally got back-to-back scores and won the third set 31-29 on a block from Weiland and Koehler.
Sonoma held an 11-8 lead over Dixie State when things started to get out of reach for the Red Storm. The Seawolves hit the gas and the Storm couldn’t keep up and were outscored 14-3 over the second half of the set, suffering a 25-11 loss to end hopes of the season continuing.
The Red Storm capped off the season with an incredible run through the postseason and will head into the offseason with a terrific foundation to build upon.
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