Volleyball heads to Phoenix for next week's WAC Tournament

WOLVERINEGREENDOTCOM Junior right side Cassie Wahlin
Junior right side Cassie Wahlin

Nov. 23, 2013

UVU Match Notes | Live Video | Live Stats | Tournament Central | Tournament Bracket

OREM, Utah - Utah Valley University volleyball will head to its first-ever WAC Tournament this weekend as the three seed and will open play on Monday against the sixth-seeded Seattle U Redhawks. The 2013 WAC Volleyball Tournament will be hosted by Grand Canyon University and with take place Nov. 25-27 at the GCU Arena in Phoenix, Ariz.

The Last Meeting
Seattle University0
Utah Valley3
October 26, 2013
Orem, Utah
Volleyball sweeps Seattle U, moves into sole possession of second place
Senior setter Brookelyn Hall became just the second player in Utah Valley University history to surpass 4,000 career assists on Saturday night as the Wolverines swept Seattle University (25-19, 25-23, 25-9) in Western Athletic Conference action at the PE Building. With the victory, UVU moves into sole possession of second place in the WAC with an 8-3 conference record.

Live video for all five matches of the tournament can be accessed through WACSports.tv at a one-time price of $9.95. Live stats will also be available free of charge by visiting WACSports.com. For ticket information for the 2013 WAC Tournament please visit GCUArena.com.

UVU (18-14) finished the regular season in a tie for third place with Idaho in the WAC standings with identical 11-5 league records. Utah Valley held the tiebreaker over the Vandals, however, to earn the three seed.

The top six teams in the WAC qualified for the tournament and regular season champion New Mexico State earned the top seed after going 14-2 in conference play. Both NM State as well as No. 2 Bakersfield (12-4) will receive first-round byes and won't open play until Tuesday's semifinals.



Following UVU versus SU in the tournament opener on Monday at 5 p.m., No. 4 Idaho (11-5) will play No. 5 Kansas City (9-7) later that night at 7:30 p.m. The winner of the Utah Valley/Seattle contest will then face Bakersfield on Tuesday at 5 p.m., while NM State will take on the winner of Idaho and UMKC. The championship contest will then be played on Wednesday at 5 p.m. with the winner receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Utah Valley won the Great West Conference Tournament in its final year of play in that league last season by sweeping past both Texas-Pan American and Houston Baptist. But with the Great West Tournament Champion not receiving an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament this year marks a new opportunity for UVU.

"It's a new beginning for everybody and we embrace the opportunity to get out there and compete," head coach Sam Atoa said. "There are some good things that can happen but it's in our hands. If the girls are willing to do that then we've got a shot."

The Wolverines dropped their final two matches of the regular season against the top two seeds, as they fell 3-2 to Bakersfield at home on Nov. 16 (25-9, 23-25, 25-19, 20-25, 14-16) and in straight sets at New Mexico State on Thursday (18-25, 18-25, 20-25). Sophomore Lauren Stringham led UVU in both matches as the middle blocker posted a double-double against the `Runners with 11 kills and 10 blocks and a match-high 10 kills and five blocks Thursday at NM State.

Stringham leads the WAC in total blocks on the season with 156 and ranks second in the league in block per average at 1.33 as well as 32nd nationally. Junior libero McKenna Tait is also tops in the conference in aces with 53 and her 0.45 per set average is good enough for 15th in the nation. Junior Kalani Norris paces the team in kills with 324, while senior Brookelyn Hall leads the way in assists (9.49 per set average) and hitting percentage (.308).

The WAC Tournament will mark a homecoming of sorts for both Hall and freshman Kelcee Munk, as the two each hail from the state Arizona. Hall calls Gilbert home while Munk is from from Mesa.

About Seattle U
The Redhawks earned the No. 6 seed for the WAC Tournament after finishing the season with a 12-19 overall record and a 9-7 league mark. SU's 9-7 record was good enough for a tie for fifth place. SU concluded its regular season with a 3-1 win at Chicago State on Nov. 16. Prior to that victory, the Redhawks had lost three straight matches.

Iris Ivanis leads Seattle on the season in kills with 285 while Martina Samadan paces the squad in kill per set average (3.26) and hitting percentage (.431). Stephanie Stoll is tops on the team in blocks with 80 (0.85 per set average).

The Wolverines and Redhawks split the season series with each team winning on their home court. SU won the first meeting on Sept. 28 in Seattle in five sets (22-25, 25-14, 25-27, 25-23, 13-15), while Utah Valley took care of business in Orem on Oct. 26 by sweeping Seattle U (25-19, 25-23, 25-9). Monday's contest will mark the fourth all-time meeting between the two schools, with UVU holding a 2-1 series advantage.

For more information on the WAC Tournament including a tournament bracket please visit WACSports.com.