The UVU volleyball team kicked off the season with participation in the SJSU/USF Invitational Friday and Saturday. Despite a strong showing in each match, the Wolverines were unable to pick up a victory in the tournament as they were defeated in each of their three matches.
The Wolverines opened the tournament facing the Pepperdine Waves of the West Coast Conference at Spartan Gym on the campus of San Jose State. Pepperdine (2-1) came out strong and was too much for the the Wolverines (0-3) as the Waves won the match in four sets (19-25, 25-23, 20-25, 27-29).
After a close defeat in the first set, UVU quickly fell behind in the second set 15-7 before the team was able to rally behind back-to-back kills from senior Lexi Thompson to cut the deficit. The Wolverines then ended on a 10-2 run to record a victory in the second set. UVU was unable to keep up the momentum however as the team would go on to lose the next two sets, coming up just short in the fourth.
In its second match of the tournament the Wolverines took the court opposite Fresno State of the Mountain West Conference. The Wolverines were unable to keep pace as they fell to the Bulldogs (2-1) in four sets (16-25, 17-25, 26-24, 22-25).
The first two sets were reminiscent of the previous match as Fresno State jumped out to an early lead and was able to hold on for commanding victories. Thompson and Sierra Starley came up big in the third set, as each scored late to lead the Wolverines to a narrow win. The fourth set was tightly contested with tie scores at 7-7, 19-19 and 22-22, before Fresno State managed to break the tie and score twice more to put away the Wolverines.
For it’s third and final match of the tournament UVU faced Nevada of the Mountain West Conference at War Memorial Gym in San Francisco. Despite another commendable performance, the Wolverines were unable to keep pace as they fell to the Wolfpack (1-1) in four sets (17-25, 25-20, 14-25, 19-25).
Each team came out firing in the first set as they battled to a 6-6 tie before Nevada found it’s groove and reeled off a 7-1 run. Despite a late run by UVU, the Wolfpack was able to hold on for a first set victory.
The second set was hotly contested as the teams fought their way to 11 tie scores before the Wolverines were able to finally pull away. As UVU nursed a 22-20 lead late in the set, Jasmine Niutupuivaha and Izzie Hinton recorded several block assists to seal the deal as the Wolverines held on for the win.
The third and fourth sets, like the second, were back-and-forth in the early goings before the Wolfpack pulled away for a commanding victory in each. Thompson and fellow senior Madison Dennison led the way for the Wolverines with 12 and 11 kills, respectively.
Next up for the Wolverines is an in-state non-conference matchup with Southern Utah in Cedar City Tuesday Aug. 29 before UVU will return home next weekend to host the Wolverine Invitational.