Wolverines defeated by WAC newcomer SFA in first meeting 3-1

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The Utah Valley women’s volleyball team fell to the Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks 3-1 (21-25, 25-18, 17-25, 23-25) in a neutral site match at the GCU arena in Phoenix.

The loss drops the Wolverines to 10-9 (5-3 WAC) and snaps a five-match winning streak, while SFA improves to 14-5 (5-2 WAC). This will be the only meeting between these interdivisional foes outside of a potential rematch in the WAC tournament.

Outside hitters Kristen Bell and Kazna Tanuvasa led the attack with 12 kills apiece while also adding 13 and 11 digs respectively. Libero Bryton Bishop added 20 digs as well. 

The opening set was back and forth, with both sides trading runs before being tied at 21. SFA was able to get the last run, rattling off four straight points to take the set. 

UVU bounced back in the second set, taking a 14-6 lead thanks in part to a pair of aces from Natalie Palmer. The Wolverines never let the Ladyjacks get any closer than four points for the remainder of the set, with Tanuvasa capping it off with a kill. 

The Wolverines started off the third set strong, but were unable to stop a pair of runs by SFA before it got out of reach. After falling behind 10-8, the Ladyjacks rattled off an 8-1 run to take a 16-11 lead. The two teams would trade the next few points, but a 6-0 run put any thought of a comeback for UVU to bed. 

SFA kept the momentum rolling to start the fourth set, logging a 6-1 run to open the period. The Wolverines slowly cut into the lead, with outside hitter Kalea Kennedy tallying three of her five kills as UVU rallied to take a 21-20 lead. The Ladyjacks bounced back like they did just about the whole night, scoring five of the last seven points to take the set and the match. 

It will be a quick turnaround for the Wolverines, as they will face off against another WAC newcomer, the Sam Houston State Bearkats, on Saturday, Oct. 23 at the GCU Arena. The match is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. MDT and can be streamed on the WAC Digital Network.