Sept. 24, 2011
POCATELLO, Idaho - Utah Valley found itself on the wrong end of the scoreboard in a very tightly contest three-set match at Idaho State Saturday afternoon as it fell 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 33-31) to the Bengals (8-6). The match marked the Wolverines (10-6) final pre-conference tune-up before beginning its 2011 Great West Conference season next Saturday at defending champion North Dakota.
"I was very disappointed with our effort," UVU head coach Sam Atoa said. "We came and played hard and had chances but we were not the better team. Idaho State proved that as they took it to us."
Despite the loss Sarah Clement had an outstanding match for UVU as she put up a team-high 14 kills, hit. 524 and added five block assists. McKenna Tait and Rachel Anderson too had nice matches as they both finished in double digits in digs as Tait had 16 and Anderson had 12.
The first set stayed close in the beginning and the Wolverines trailed by just two at 13-11 following a Katie Fritzler kill. The Bengals then enjoyed a 6-0 run to take a 19-11 advantage. Patti Flagg later sparked a five-point UVU run as she drilled home two service aces during the stretch to cut the Bengal lead to 20-17. Idaho State countered with two points of its own and held on to win the first set by five points. Breanne Van Every led ISU with five kills in the set while Clement led the Wolverines with four.
In the second set the Bengals continued to play well early on as they jumped out to a 10-5 lead. UVU scored four of the next five points and after a Tait service ace trailed by just two at 11-9. Following a Clement and Chelsey Heaps block assist, the Wolverines later found themselves down by just a point at 13-12. ISU responded however and later extended its lead to four at 20-16. The Bengals then enjoyed a 24-20 set-point advantage but the Wolverines battled to score the next three points to trail by just one at 24-23. ISU's Danielle Downs helped the Bengals take the set by scoring the next point via a kill.
UVU looked good to begin the third set as it jumped out to a quick 5-2 lead. The Bengals answered with a four-point run to go ahead 6-5. The Wolverines later pulled ahead by three points again following a Brookelyn Campbell
ace to lead 10-7. UVU then extended its lead to four at 13-9 but ISU rallied and scored six straight points to take a 15-13 advantage. From there the score stayed tight the rest of the way.
After a Clement kill the Wolverines later tied the score in the third set at 19-all. Play continued as UVU pulled ahead 22-20 following a Clement and Jaicee Kuresa block. The Bengals then rallied and tied the score at 23 after a Vanessa Muir kill. Both teams then matched one another seemingly point-for-point as the set continued past 30 points. ISU finally pulled ahead at 32-31 and won the epic set at 33-31 on a Downs kill.
The Wolverines will now prepare for their first Great West Conference title as the conference season will begin next Saturday with a 3 p.m. match at defending champion North Dakota.
"Today's outcome was not the direction we were hoping to be headed in." Atoa added. "I'm really concerned with what we're not doing especially when we are headed on the road to face the number one team. We are a good team but we just aren't executing and playing very well right now. So we have a lot of work to do to be prepared for next week."