Oct. 15, 2011
HOUSTON, Texas - Despite three players finishing in double figures in kills for Utah Valley on Saturday, the Wolverines (15-7, 4-1 GWC) dropped their first Great West Conference match of the season at Houston Baptist 3-1 (28-26, 19-25, 23-25, 17-25). The loss also snapped UVU's five-match win streak and knotted the Wolverines, Huskies (17-6, 4-1 GWC) and the North Dakota Fighting Sioux all tied atop the GWC with identical 4-1 records.
"You've got to hand it to Houston Baptist, they played a very good match. But it was disappointing that we didn't play better," Wolverine head coach Sam Atoa said. "Overall we played well but just not good enough to get the job done."
UVU's Chelsey Heaps led the way for the Wolverines in the losing effort as she finished with a team-high 15 kills, while Erica Nish and Sarah Clement added 12 and 11 kills respectively. Clement and Nish also both hit better than .300 and added three block assists apiece. Brookelyn Campbell also had another big match by tallying another double-double with 46 assists and 14 digs. Rachel Anderson, McKenna Tait and Patti Flagg all finished in double digits in digs too as numerous Wolverines' had solid statistical matches.
In the opening set UVU worked out to an early five-point advantage at 12-7 following a Heaps kill. The Wolverines held the lead until the end of the frame when the Huskies got hot and tied it up at 22-all. Play continued past 25 as both teams matched one another down the stretch. The Wolverines then pulled the set out by capitalizing on a late HBU service error and a Heaps kill to win it 28-26.
Houston Baptist then bounced back after dropping the first set by winning the next three to take the match.
"They played defense very well," Atoa added when talking about what the difference was in the final three sets. "They dug a lot of balls and we just weren't able to put enough of them away."
The second frame stayed close in the beginning and the Wolverines held a one-point advantage at 8-7 following a Clement kill. A few points later UVU trailed by just one at 13-12 after a Heaps kill. The Huskies then made their move and built a six-point advantage at 20-14. UVU scored the next two points and after a Clement and Jaicee Kuresa block trailed by four but that was as close as the Wolverines would get the rest of the frame as HBU won it by six points.
The third set stayed tight in the beginning but HBU broke a 9-9 tie with a 5-0 run to pull ahead 14-9. Trailing by five later at 21-16, the Wolverines scored four straight to get within one at 21-20. The Huskies countered and went back ahead by three at 23-20 but UVU came back and after a late HBU ball handling error got within one at 24-23. The Huskies managed to win the set on the next point however on a kill from Heather Leaverton.
After an early Nish kill and HBU error put UVU ahead 2-0, the Huskies went on a roll and built a sizable advantage in the fourth set. HBU led by as much as 10 in the frame and went on to win it by eight points. The Huskies Isis Gardner had seven of her and her teammate Leaverton's match-high tying tally of 17 kills in the set.
The Wolverines will next stay on the road to play two more conference contests next week. On Thursday (Oct. 20) UVU will play at NJIT and next Saturday (Oct. 22) the Wolverines will be at Chicago State.
"Being away from home is always a challenge but we need to bounce back and get back on track next week." Atoa added.