By: Jessica Whalen, reporter, [email protected]
The Wolverines set out to overcome their recent defeats versus BYU and Wichita State, playing in the Arizona Desert Classic on Sept. 6-7.
UVU was looking to gain its first win against a Pac-12 team, and it had the opportunity to do so against the Arizona Wildcats. The Wildcats were entering the Arizona Desert Classic with a 2-1 record.
Going against Wildcats Jane Croson and Madi Kingdon made the task even more difficult. Croson and Kingdon led the Arizona offense with a total of 81 kills combined.
The Wolverines opened up the tournament with a 3-1 win over Eastern Kentucky (25-21, 28-26, 21-25, 33-31). However, the Wolverines fell to the Butler Bulldogs 0-3 (11-25, 22-25, 6-25).
Although Macky Treanor and Nakisha Willden were able to help the Wolverines stay alive when the moment counted, they were not able to erase the deficit that was created.
“We’re struggling a little bit right now,” said head coach Sam Atoa. “We’re not able to capitalize on some of the good things that we’ve been doing and it’s been a challenge to be consistent. Those are the things that we need to fix so that we can be successful out on the court.”
The Wolverines concluded their week at the Arizona Desert Classic with a loss to Arizona (17-25, 22-25, 15-25).
“We came out and we battled and I liked our intensity going into this match,” Atoa explained. “Arizona is a very good team and they capitalized on our mistakes. We made several errors that kept us away from getting where we wanted it to be. We battled hard but we just could not sustain it throughout the match.”
Although the Wolverines came away from the tournament with two losses, the team showed improvement. Katie Fritzler, a senior middle blocker, and McKenna Tait, a junior libero, were both named to the All-Tournament team. Tait had an all team high of 32 digs, 12 assists and four aces. Fritzler had ten kills, seven blocks and four digs.
“I thought that Katie played with a no-quit attitude. She drove it hard and worked hard. She is well deserving to be on the all-tournament team,” added Atoa. “McKenna just does a great job for us on the back row. She has a knack of keeping balls alive for us and I’m very proud of both of them and for their efforts this weekend.”
The Wolverines now shift their focus to the Wolverine Classic. The Wolverine Classic is the second tournament UVU has hosted in the 2013-14 season. Idaho State, UC Irvine, and Utah made the trip to Orem to compete within the event, which was held in the PE building Sept.13-14.