UVU Stays Tied Atop the Great West with 3-1 Win Over HBU

Freshman Kalani Norris.

Oct. 27, 2011

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OREM, Utah - Utah Valley made up for its only prior conference loss to Houston Baptist by defeating the Huskies (18-7, 4-2 GWC) 3-1 in Orem Thursday evening (25-22, 25-14, 22-25, 25-13). The win kept the Wolverines (18-7, 7-1 GWC) tied atop the Great West with North Dakota.

UVU's freshmen were the story in the victory as Kalani Norris and McKenna Tait both had career nights. Norris finished with highs of 12 kills and three service aces while Tait put up high of 24 digs while also adding three service aces herself.

"Our freshmen know that they can play this game and it was a great for Kalani and McKenna to have big parts in this win," UVU head coach Sam Atoa said. "Anytime your freshmen perform this well and step up for you, you will take it."

Two weeks ago the Huskies handed the Wolverines their lone loss in their last nine matches but tonight was a different story as UVU played well from start to finish. This evening UVU outhit HBU .214 to .094, had 20 more assists and 15 more digs than the Huskies.

When asked about what the difference was from this match and from the one that they Wolverine dropped two weeks ago Atoa said, "We converted the opportunities that we had this time. It started off with great serving and our serving game really helped us go on the large runs that we had. Kudos to our girls for making some really good adjustments."

In the opening set the scored stayed close in the early stages. The Huskies were the first to take the upper hand as they went ahead by three at 9-6. With UVU later down by three at 17-14, it rallied and scored four straight points to pull ahead 18-17. From there the score remained tight down the stretch in the first frame. With UVU later leading 22-21, the freshman helped the Wolverines take the set as Tait connected on a service ace and Norris drilled home two of her set-high four kills to give UVU the 25-22 opening win.

With the score tied at 5-5 in the second set, the Wolverines got hot and scored five of the next six points to take a four-point lead at 10-6. After a HBU point, UVU then rolled off four consecutive points to double up the Huskies on the scoreboard at 14-7. With UVU later ahead 16-10 it scored five straight points to go up 21-10. During the run Norris and Erica Nish led the way, as Norris had two aces and Nish had two kills and a block. UVU went on to take the set by 11 points. Norris once again led the way with five kills in the frame and she was five for seven in the set for a .714 attack percentage.

UVU stayed hot in the first half of the third set as it quickly opened up a four-point lead at 6-2. It maintained its advantage and later upped it to six at 12-6 following a Nish ace. UVU then extended its lead to eight at 16-8 on a Chelsey Heaps ace. The Huskies then battled back by scoring eight of the next nine points to pull within one at 17-16. HBU later took its first lead of the set at 19-18 after an Isis Gardner kill. The Huskies later took a 24-19 set-point advantage. The Wolverines tried to complete the comeback by scoring three late points but HBU managed to pull it out by a 25-22 score.

With the fourth set tied at five-all, the Wolverines went on a 6-0 run to go up 11-5. During the run Nish had two solo blocks and Heaps had two kills. After a Norris solo stuff UVU later extended its lead to seven at 15-8. The Wolverines then added to its lead after taking advantage of a couple HBU errors to pull ahead by 10 at 21-11. Nish, Heaps and Campbell then each scored kills down the stretch as UVU ran away with the fourth set, winning it by 12.

In all four players reached double figures in kills for the Wolverines. Heaps tied Norris' match-high effort with 12, Sarah Clement added 11 and Nish had 10. Heaps and Campbell also finished with double-doubles in the match for UVU, as Heaps added 10 digs and Campbell put up a match-high 46 assists and 10 digs herself.

The Wolverines will take the court again in Orem Saturday afternoon when they welcome conference foe Texas-Pan American for a 1 p.m. match.