Utah Valley University fell to Marquette University by a score of 3-0 (25-14, 25-18, 25-22) Friday morning to open up its 2019 volleyball campaign in the opening match of the Nike Invitational at Brigham Young University in Provo.
UVU has much to continue to build upon this season after a program-best 20-14 record last season. The BYU Nike Invitational is a common place to begin the season for the Wolverines, where they can test their squad to see where they stand among other top teams in the country.
UVU did have some bright spots in the loss, however. Sophomore Kazna Tarawhiti — who received First Team All-WAC, WAC All-Freshmen Team and WAC All-Tournament Team honors last year — led the team with 13 kills in Friday’s opener.
This isn’t surprising, considering the fact that she set a UVU single-season record with 558 kills last season during her freshman season. Tarawhiti also led all players in digs with 10 while senior Makaila Jarema put together a game-high three blocks and junior Jaysa Funk-Stratton dished out a game-high 25 assists.
Though UVU got swept, each set progressively got closer as the match went on. The Wolverines gave the Golden Eagles even more hassle in the third set as the gold and blue squad trailed for the first time in the match. But a stretch of back-to-back kills from MU helped them shut the door on UVU in a 25-22 win.
MU won its sixth straight season opener, as standout Big East preseason Player of the Year Allie Barber led all hitters with 14 kills.
UVU will try to bounce back tonight in Provo when they take on No. 9 BYU at 7:30 p.m. MST. The Wolverines will focus in on improving their hitting from the loss against MU, as they hit at a measly .165 mark. MU will also take the floor again on Friday against Boise State University at 6:30 p.m. MST in Provo.
Photo by Natasha Colburn