Atoa Wins at Alma Mater

Utah Valley University head women’s volleyball coach Sam Atoa returned to his alma mater, BYU-Hawaii, and led his Wolverine squad to a 3-1 win (25-13, 22-25, 25-23, 25-23) against the Seasiders Wednesday night. With the win, UVU improved to 10-11 on the year, and BYU-H fell to 16-8.

“I’ve had a lot of fun emotions coming back to coach where I started in college,” Atoa said. “It was even better that our team played well. Everything turned out the way I hoped it would, and this has been a great experience.”

Sophomore Kayli Broadbent led the Wolverines with 13 kills followed by freshman Jaicee Kuresa with 12. Junior Allyce Wilson set a season record with 34 digs in the match, and sophomore Lanni O’Reilly set a career high with 13. Defensively, UVU recorded 13 total team blocks and held BYU-H to a .088 attack percentage.

Six Wrestlers Place at Harold Nichols Open

Six out of nine Utah Valley University wrestlers who competed at the Harold Nichols Cyclones Open Saturday finished placing in the 32-team tournament.

“I am excited about the team this year,” UVU head wrestling coach Greg Williams said. “They are wrestling with confidence and are really working hard to develop in the areas they need to improve. Even in the matches that our younger guys are losing, they are working hard through the whole match and not letting up. I am proud of them.”

UVU battled it out at the Harold Nichols Open against some of the best wrestlers in the nation. Top notched talent that was at the open included wrestlers from No. 1 Iowa, No. 2 Iowa State, No. 6 Nebraska, No. 12 Wisconsin, No. 22 Northern Iowa, and fellow Western Wrestling Conference opponent South Dakota State just to name a few.

Utah Valley sophomore Benjamin Kjar led the way again as he finished placing third in the 125-pound tournament. Kjar, who earned the two-seed on the day wrestled some very good competition and came through earning his 19th national rank. He fell in the semis to Andrew Long of Iowa State losing by only one-point (3-2) but rebounded winning two more matches to place third.

Three other Wolverine wrestlers placed fourth in their respective weight-class tournaments. Junior Jeffrey Newby came out of the 141-pound tourney, sophomore Justin Morrill at 149, and sophomore Jeb Clark 165.

Also placing for UVU at the open was sophomore Flint Ray who finished fifth in the 133-pound tournament and redshirt freshman Brad Darrington placed sixth at 174 pounds.