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Wolverines Show Depth in Sweep of Thunderbirds
Nov. 8, 2011
OREM, Utah -- Thirteen kills from Chelsey Heaps and six blocks from Katie Fritzler spurred Utah Valley to its second consecutive sweep of an in-state opponent, this time against Southern Utah (25-22, 25-16, 25-21) Tuesday night at the Activity Center.
"We had some lapses here and there, but we made the adjustments necessary for us to win," said UVU head volleyball coach Sam Atoa. "We were able to respond to their runs and that was really important for us."
After SUU (10-20, 6-11 Summit) delivered a 9-6 run in the first set, including a stretch of back-to-back-to-back kills, to pull within two at 14-12, UVU (21-8, 8-1 GWC) responded with a Heaps kill and a block assist from Fritzler and Brookelyn Campbell. The Thunderbirds threatened again, using an 8-4 run to knot the game at 20, but the defense shined in the clutch for the Wolverines as Jaicee Kuresa and Fritzler combined for three consecutive blocks; each delivering a solo before their tandem block assist. The defensive spurt proved enough to give UVU the set, 25-22.
Kuresa and Heaps led the Wolverines offensively in the set, each smashing three kills. Defensively, UVU registered 5.5 blocks as a team, getting a pair of block assists from both Campbell and Fritzler.
"Katie [Fritzler] did a really nice job filling in off the bench," said Atoa of the middle blocker's defensive effort. "We've got some depth, which is exciting to have towards the end of the season."
The competitiveness of the first set carried into the early going of the second, but behind kills from Kuresa, Campbell, and Heaps, UVU created some separation with a 7-2 run. Operating with a 17-10 advantage, the Wolverines would coast through the remainder of the second set, eventually securing a 25-16 win.
Heaps posted five kills in the frame behind a stellar .571 attack percentage, while Kuresa added four and Sarah Clement three. Kuresa and Clement each added a pair of block assists as well.
Ahead 12-11 in the third set, UVU pieced together a 7-3 run to jump out to a 19-14 lead. The rally featured two kills from Heaps, two more from Campbell, and another from Clement. SUU kept things interesting, cutting the deficit to three at 21-18, but some sturdy defense united with a duo of Clement kills gave UVU a 25-21 third set win and preserved the club's second straight sweep.
Heaps tallied another five kills in the last set, Clement added four, and Campbell finished with three. UVU hit an impressive .650 as a team in the frame to nullify SUU's solid .320.
Aside from the big night from Heaps and Fritzler, UVU got strong efforts from Clement, who finished with nine kills, and Kuresa, who finished with eight. Additionally, Campbell's 27 assists and 13 digs give her 10 double-doubles on the season, and McKenna Tait dropped in four service aces for the match.
The Wolverines can now shift their focus to their final, pivotal regular season match, a Great West Conference contest against North Dakota in which the winner claims the GWC Regular Season Championship. The winner-take-all battle is scheduled for Friday night at 7 p.m. in the Activity Center. UVU will hope to reproduce its early season success against the Fighting Sioux, when it captured a 3-1 win in Grand Forks on Oct. 1.
Following the match, UVU will have a short week to prepare for the GWC Tournament, set to run Nov. 17-19, at UND's Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.