Photo by Sammie Jo Raymond
After wrapping up regular season play last weekend, the UVU volleyball team faced off against UMKC in the opening round of the WAC tournament Thursday night in Edinburg, Tex. Despite a first set loss, the third seeded Wolverines rallied to beat the sixth seeded Kangaroos in four sets (24-26, 25-22, 25-20, 25-20).
Led by a Lexi Thompson kill, UVU opened the first set with a 3 straight scores to take an early lead before a 4-1 Kangaroo run tied the score at 4-4. Both sides traded points, battling to an 11-11 score, before a 3-0 Kangaroo run gave UMKC a three point advantage. The Wolverines were able to chip away at the deficit and finally tied the score once again when a Kristen Allred kill made things 18-all. A UMKC error and another Allred kill gave the Wolverines a two point lead late in the set before some more back and forth action. Moments later, leading 24-23, the Wolverines watched UMKC go on a 3-0 run to end the set and record the win.
The Kangaroos were able to keep up the momentum heading into the second set, as they scored three straight before UVU was able to get on the board. The Wolverine deficit grew to as many as five at 11-6 before UVU began to battle back. The Wolverines eventually caught up when a UMKC error tied the score at 18-18 before back to back Thompson kills capped off a 3-0 run giving UVU a two point lead. The Wolverines would retain the lead for the remainder of the set, recording a narrow victory to tie things up at 1-1.
The third set was fiercely contested in the early goings as the teams fought their way to eleven ties and eight lead changes. With the score tied at 16-16, a Madison Dennison block initiated a 4-1 run, giving the Wolverines a 20-17 lead they would not relinquish. After a Kangaroo score pulled UMKC to within one, Thompson silenced the comeback bid as she scored two kills to help fuel a 5-1 closeout run for the Wolverines.
The back-and-forth action of the third set continued into the fourth, as the tooth and nail battle continued. With the score knotted at 5-5, UMKC reeled off three straight to take the lead at 8-5. The Wolverines responded with a 3-0 run of their own, led by a Megan Boudreaux kill, to make the score 8-8. The teams traded points until settling on a 16-16 tie, which was broken by a 3-0 Wolverine run which served to take the air out of UMKC. UVU would not trail again, as it’s lead would grow to five before a Kangaroo error ended the set, giving the Wolverines a 3-1 match victory.
Dennison led the Wolverines with 17 kills and seven blocks, while Thompson added 13 kills and Sierra Starley recorded 38 assists
With the victory, UVU will advance to face second seeded UTRGV on Friday, while UMKC is eliminated from the tournament.