UVU Volleyball defeated in-state rival, Utah Tech, 3-1 (25-19, 25-21, 18-25, 25-22) improving to 6-12 on the season and 3-4 in conference play.
UVU started off hot, going on a quick 5-1 run le
ad by stalwart defensive play. The Wolverines’ front line was unwavering, not allowing Utah Tech to gain any substantial momentum.
This dominance continued, led by Avery Shewell’s 12 kills; constant attacks by UVU would not allow UT to establish their system.
However, trouble struck near the end of the set, with the Trailblazers going on a quick run to bring the set back to within 3. Luckily, clutch kills and timely saves allowed UVU to close out the set. With a kill from Vittoria Price, Utah Valley halted the Trail Blazers’ comeback effort, ending the set 25-19.
Utah Valley started the next set slowly, finding themselves in an early deficit. But as was becoming a theme of this game, the defense stepped up.
A block by Price stopped Utah Tech’s run and helped Utah Valley start a run of their own. Unfortunately, that run was not enough.
Errors hindered the Wolverines’ chances, and Utah Valley fell behind to a 15-11 deficit.
This is when Tori Ellis started to come alive, playing some great volleyball at the net and having ferocious kills. Thanks to her efforts, UVU stormed back and took the lead from the Trailblazers to gain the edge in this extremely close set.
The battle was back-and-forth. However, thanks to a final 4-0 run capped off by a block by Shewell, the Wolverines won their second straight set.
The third set of the game started similarly to the second, with the Trailblazers holding a lead early, but unlike the second set, this would be a lead they would hold.
It seemed like Utah Tech came alive in this third set. Led by Kennedi Knudsen, they jumped to a substantial lead and did not look back.
Utah Valley had lost their juice; multiple attacking errors hampered the Wolverines’ efforts, and their attacks lacked the intensity needed to close out a feisty Trailblazer team.
The Wolverines faltered in this third set, and a final block by Utah Tech sealed the Utah Valley loss at 25-18.
UVU bounced back at the start of the fourth set, benefited by many Utah Tech attacking errors.
Utah Valley would take advantage of these missteps and jump ahead to a 12-6 lead. Utah Tech tried to respond, but excellent defensive play by Lani Matavao and a timely block by Caleigh Vagana helped UVU maintain a firm lead at 17-11.
However, the Trailblazers began to pull close, as errors at the net by the Wolverines would aid Utah Tech’s comeback efforts. The Trailblazers would not allow the Wolverines to find a groove, pulling the set to within one alongside a devastating 6-0 run, bringing the score to 21-20. A kill by Shewell would stop the bleeding, but the Wolverines looked discombobulated as the Trailblazers tied the game up.
Utah Valley could not get solid attacking opportunities, even if the hit over the net was not particularly disrupting the Trailblazers. While there seemed to be a miscommunication by the Wolverines that was crippling them, they were not allowing Utah Tech to get any significant attacking pressure.
A key block by Kalea Kennedy and a final ace by Molly Cummard gave the Wolverines the set and ended the game at 25-22.
This win was a complete team effort. The Wolverines were anchored by their two key setters: the ever-stalwart Abby Medeiros, who led the team with 26 assists and Evelyn Chism who added 19.
Combined with the two outside hitters, Ellis and Shewell, this victory was a resounding one.
This is the second straight win by the Wolverines, who will try to keep this streak going against Southern Utah this Saturday, Oct. 14. This game will be broadcast on ESPN+.