Fall season rewind: volleyball

The Utah Valley volleyball team nearly secured their third-straight NCAA Tournament appearance, falling to SFA in the WAC tourney.

The Wolverines celebrate as they snap CSU's four-game winning streak on Oct. 30, 2021 (Photo courtesy of UVU athletics).

Utah Valley University’s volleyball team was the first sport to produce a major headline in the 2022 fall season. In the Wolverine’s first match of the season against the #23 Kansas Jayhawks, Kazna Tanuvasa broke the all-time school record with her 1,601st kill. Tanuvasa stretched the all-time kill record to 1906 in her graduate year leading the Wolverines to a 4 seed in the Western Athletic Conference Tournament. 

“Now looking back at it, it is surreal as it was one of my goals as I came into UVU wanting to make history,” said Tanuvasa. “It is a surreal moment knowing that all of my hard work I have put towards the game has paid off.”

During the regular season, the Wolverines bounced back from a rocky 0-3 start, rallying off a five-game win streak, defeating Cal Poly, California, Northern Arizona, Harvard and Northeastern in the process. After another three-game skid against in-state rivals Utah State, Weber State and #15 BYU, the Wolverines won 11 out of their next 12 games, including a 10-game winning streak in conference play. At the tail end of the season, the Wolverines had yet another three-game losing span, including the regular-season finale at Grand Canyon University.

However, the Wolverines would not let their season end quietly, as they made a run for the WAC Tournament Championship. After defeating UT Arlington in the quarterfinals, the Wolverines swept the #1 overall seed in the tournament in the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros. The Wolverines’ magical run to another potential NCAA Tournament appearance fell short in the WAC title game, as they were defeated by Stephen F. Austin University in four sets on Nov. 19. The match was much closer than the final score, as the Wolverines lost all sets but the first within a three-point margin. Tanuvasa went out with a bang, recording a team-high 16 kills. The loss  ended the two-year streak of NCAA Tournament appearances for the Wolverines.

After the season, three Wolverines earned 2022 ALL-WAC honors. Tanuvasa and Tori Dorius earned First Team ALL-WAC and Avery Shewell took home the WAC Freshman of the Year Award along with being placed Second Team ALL-WAC and the ALL-WAC Freshman Team. 

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