Fresno State

Bulldogs head into regular-season volleyball finale, await postseason fate

Fresno State honored its seven senior volleyball players before Saturday’s match against Nevada at the Save Mart Center. The Bulldogs finish the regular season at home Monday night against Air Force.
Fresno State honored its seven senior volleyball players before Saturday’s match against Nevada at the Save Mart Center. The Bulldogs finish the regular season at home Monday night against Air Force. Fresno State Athletics

UPDATE: Fresno State was swept by Air Force in its regular-season finale. The crowd of 1,080 was the 10th over 1,000 this season.

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The Fresno State volleyball team, enjoying its best season since 2003, closes the regular season Monday night against Air Force at the Save Mart Center.

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Fresno State is assured of second place in the Mountain West Conference and will learn its postseason fate when the 64-team NCAA field is announced Sunday, Nov. 25. After the NCAA field is set, the National Invitational Volleyball Championship will set a 32- to 40-team field.

The Bulldogs swept Nevada on Saturday at the Save Mart Center, a nice bounce-back from a Thursday loss at home to San Jose State.

Fresno State (21-9, 13-4 Mountain West) has won 21 matches in a season for the first time since 2003. The 2002 Bulldogs team is the last to make the postseason, losing in the NCAA first round to UC Santa Barbara under coach Lindy Vivas.

Vivas left after the 2004 season as the school’s all-time winningest coach with a record of 263-167. The program went 150-236 in 13 seasons under Ruben Nieves and Lauren Netherby-Sewell before this year’s turnaround under first-year coach Jonathan Winder.

Fresno State has won 18 of its last 24 home matches dating back to the 2016 season. And the Bulldogs have done it with good support: Saturday’s attendance of 1,088 was the ninth crowd over 1,000 this season. By comparison, Fresno State played in front of 1,000 or more fans in one of 12 road matches this year.

Bulldogs sophomore Reagan Leonard is chasing a single-season record for digs. With 554, she’s No. 2 on the list behind record-holder (and current Fresno State assistant coach) Maggie Eppright’s 573 set in 2015.

Senior Haile Watson has 386 career blocks, the fifth-most in program history. No. 4 Lynette Wilke (1985-88) had 416, and career leader Suzie Regul (1989-92) had 437.

Air Force (16-15, 6-11) comes in Monday looking for its first overall winning record since 1999. It’s the teams’ only meeting of the season.

Colorado State clinched its eighth Mountain West title in nine seasons, 15th overall and 24th consecutive NCAA berth when it won Thursday.

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