In the finale of The La Quinta Invitational Saturday night, the UVU Wolverines volleyball team faced off against the Broncos from Santa Clara University. The Wolverines won 3-1 (25-20, 21-25, 25-21, 25-22). All four sets included early leads that were later surrendered for compelling finishes.
In the first set UVU jumped out to a quick 10-6 start. They were assisted by the mistakes at the net of the visiting Broncos. In spite of them, however, UVU allowed Santa Clara to fight their way back into the match before pulling away to a 22-16 lead.
The Wolverines distributed the kills out evenly amongst their big four in the first set as Chelsey Heaps, Lindsay Barker, Erica Nish and Jaicee Kuresa notched three apiece. Using their combined efforts of the Wolverines managed to finish off the broncos with a solid kill and the score of 25-20.
In the second set the Wolverines jumped out to another quick start at 4-1 and maintained the lead until leading 11-5. SCU overcame some early miscues, however, and fought their way back into the match. The Wolverines let the lead slip to 17-14, got a side out, then lost the lead entirely as the Broncos tied it at 18-18 and going on to win 21-25.
The third set began with UVU in a 1-3 hole as the Broncos looked to capitalize on the momentum gained in the second set.
The Wolverines managed to fight their way back in the match, tying the score at eight before fighting back and forth throughout. The match included 10 ties and six lead changes before UVU could take the lead for good at 20-19. The final ended up being 25-21.
“I was proud of the way that we handled that adversity,” noted UVU head coach Sam Atoa, “We kept fighting and you see the way things turned out.”
The fourth set was a series of UVU jumping out to leads, then allowing SCU to get back into the game. They started out with a 6-3 lead that was quickly cut down to 10-9. The Wolverines then spread things out to 17-13 before allowing it to become a 20-19 nail-biter. UVU’s final push was enough, however, as they got ahead 25-22 to finish the game.
The winner of The La Quinta Inn and Suites Invitational was the Michigan Wolverines from the Big Ten Conference. UVU did have two members of the All-Tournament Team: Jaicee Kuresa and Brookelyn Campbell.
The next challenge for the Wolverines comes Monday in the form of Syracuse University.