Photo by Maricel Evangelista
Following a pair of losses during its road trip last week, the volleyball team returned home Thursday night to host the Kangaroos of UMKC in conference action. The Wolverines overmatched the ‘Roos in this one, as UVU (13-15, 8-5) defeated UMKC (9-17, 5-8) in 3 sets (25-20, 25-23, 25-20) on senior night at the Lockhart Arena.
“You never know on senior night, you always want it to be a special day and winning helps with that for sure. There’s a lot of distractions with emotions that are involved. I was real proud of the girls for keeping that in check,” said head coach Sam Atoa.
The Wolverines got out to a hot start in the opening set, jumping out to a 6-3 lead behind a pair of Madison Dennison kills. The ‘Roos slowly chipped away at the deficit and were eventually able to tie the score at 8-8 before taking the lead on the next play. The Wolverines were able to respond on an Izzie Hinton kill that sparked a 4-1 run, giving them the lead once again at 12-10. 3 ties and 2 lead changes later, the teams found themselves once again deadlocked at 18-18 before UVU kicked off a 7-2 run to take the first set victory.
A UMKC error got UVU on the board first in the second set, but the Wolverines quickly found themselves down three following a 5-1 ‘Roo run. The UMKC lead grew to five at 10-5 before Lexi Thompson recorded a kill to cut into the deficit. Several plays and a couple more Thompson kills later, the Wolverines were able to tie things up at 16. After some back and forth, a Kristen Allred kill gave UVU a 19-18 advantage, it’s first in the set since leading 1-0. A few tenuous moments later, a Thompson teardrop kill sealed a narrow second set victory for the Wolverines.
The third set began with a 3-0 ‘Roo run before a Megan Boudreaux kill got UVU on the scoreboard. Another 3-0 ‘Roo run built the UMKC lead to five at 7-2 before the Wolverines were able to respond. After hanging around during the early part of the set, UVU battled back to pull within one at 11-10 before eventually tying things up at 16-all. A service ace on the ensuing play gave the Wolverines their first lead of the set and helped fuel a 6-0 UVU run to make the score 21-16. After UMKC pulled to within three to briefly make things more interesting, the Wolverines ended on a 4-2 run to put the final nail in the ‘Roo coffin and complete the 3-0 sweep.
Allred led the Wolverine scoring attack with 12 kills, while Brighton Taylor added 11 more and Sierra Starley contributed 37 assists.
Next up for the Wolverines is a home matchup with Chicago State on Saturday in their season finale before heading to for the WAC tournament the following week.