Photo by Byron Harward
After a sweep of Montana Friday night at the Lockhart Arena, the UVU volleyball team returned to the court Saturday to face Long Beach State of the Big West Conference in the closing match of the Wolverine Invitational. The Beach were overmatched in this one as UVU (3-4) downed LBSU (1-5) in four sets (25-21, 12-25, 27-25, ).
A Beach attack error got UVU on the board first and the Wolverines got hot early, building a nine-point lead at 12-3 before LBSU could respond. With the lead cut to six at 18-12, Madison Dennison recorded a kill to stave off the Beach comeback bid and spark another scoring run for UVU. The Wolverines would not look back, winning the first set of the match.
LBSU rallied to start the second set, scoring the first 4 points of the match before Dennison got UVU on the board to make the score 4-1. Alexis Davies followed suit with a kill of her own to cut the deficit to two before the Beach responded with a scoring run to build their lead to seven at 14-7. When it looked as though the Wolverines may be poised for a comeback run, the Beach stepped on the gas, mounting yet another scoring run to run away with the second set.
The Wolverines bounced back in the third set, jumping out to a 2-0 behind an Izzie Hinton kill and a LBSU error. A quick response by the Beach made the score 4-4 in what would be the first of 10 ties in the hotly contested third set. With the Wolverines clinging to a one-point lead, Lexi Thompson recorded back-to-back kills and Brighton Taylor followed up with one of her own to give UVU a three-point lead and a little breathing room. Moments later Thompson scored the deciding point in the set to secure the win for the Wolverines in a thriller.
The fourth set saw LBSU mount an early 4-1 lead before UVU was able to respond, tying the score at 9-9 and taking the lead at 12-11 on a Dennison kill. The score sparked a 5-1 run for the Wolverines who did not trail again as they would go on to win the final set and take the match, finishing the Wolverine Invitational 2-1.
Dennison led the scoring charge for the Wolverines with 17 kills and Kristen Allred added another 14 with Sierra Starley contributing 43 assists. Starley and Dennison were named to the all-tournament team for their efforts throughout the weekend.
Up next for UVU is a trip to Pocatello, Idaho, on Monday, Sept. 4, where the Wolverines will take on the Idaho State Bengals. The team returns to the state of Utah the following day to take on Utah State in Logan on Tuesday, Sept. 5.