Southern Utah University volleyball will open its inaugural season in the Big Sky Conference this weekend when the Thunderbirds travel to Weber State and Idaho State. SUU was picked ninth of the 11 teams in the Big Sky by the coaches going into the season and will look to exceed expectations with the matches in Ogden and Pocatello.
“We are excited for this weekend,” head coach Debby Baker said. “We are looking forward to playing in the Big Sky and start the next part of our season. Weber State and Idaho State are both great teams and will really test us in our first weekend in conference.”
Southern Utah will enter the weekend with an overall record of 3-7 and on a three-match losing streak after having won the previous three. The Thunderbirds’ losses came at the hands of Boise State, UC Irvine and San Jose State last weekend despite playing some of the best volleyball, statistically, of the season.
SUU hit above or near .200 in all three games, ultimately out hitting San Jose State and recording more blocks than the Spartans, only to fall in five. Southern Utah recorded more kills than UC Irvine in its three-set defeat to the Anteaters and stretched Boise State to 26-24 in the first set of that match, only to fall in three.
Analaine Mailoto paced the Thunderbird attack during the weekend, leading the team with 47 kills and an average of 4.27 kills per set. For her efforts, the senior was named to the all-tournament team. Mailoto is also leading the T-Bird offense and defense on the year with a total of 122 kills and an average of 3.70 kills per set and a team-best 78 digs, averaging 2.36 per set.
Southern Utah will face Weber State on Friday night at 7 p.m. Fans can watch the match live, for free, on Big Sky TV. SUU will then face Idaho State on Saturday night at 7 p.m., also set to air on Big Sky TV.