A Game of Missed Opportunities

Kyle McDonald,  Sports Writer, @kylesportsbias

The UVU Women’s Volleyball team had a lot of confidence going into their quarterfinal showdown at the WAC Championships with Seattle University.  On this night however, it wasn’t meant to be.  The Redhawks from Seattle came back from a 4 point deficit to steal Set 5 from the Wolverines and move on to face UMKC in a semifinal match tomorrow night.

In what could be described as a game of opportunity, UVU missed out on their chance to move on in the tournament.  Leading 14-11 in Set 3, it looked like they were on their way but 3 quick points by Seattle to tie the game up brought them to a screeching halt.  It went back and forth for a few points with Seattle taking a one point lead only to see UVU tie it back up. Leading 18-17, Seattle senior Alec Goodrie put the finishing touches on the win with a kill and abruptly ended the Wolverines season.

UVU started out well as they built up a 6 point lead in Set 1 and held off a Seattle rally to win the first set 25-22.  That is the way it would go all night for the Wolverines.  They would get off to a quick start only to see Seattle claw their way back into each set.  In Set 2 they scored quickly jumping out to a 4-2 lead behind 2 straight kills from junior middle blocker, Lauren Bakker.  From there though, the set jumped back in forth with neither team taking control. Bakker was a force to be reckon with as she had back to back kills late in the set to push the UVU lead to 14-11.  However, late in the set it was Seattle who took control as freshman Jelena Vujcin had two big kills and Martina Samadan finished it off with a kill of her own.  There were a lot of missed opportunities for the Wolverines in Set 2 and Coach Sam Atoa spoke of that at halftime. “We have to take care of the opportunities on our side…..If we can do that, we will be in good shape.”

Sets 3 and 4 were really a tale of 2 sets.  Seattle dominated set 3 as Vujcin had consecutive service aces and Samadan dominated at the net.  In Set 4 and playing for their season, UVU came out swinging and forced a few attack errors to take a 3-0 early lead.  When the game was tied at 10 is when the Wolverines really took over.  2 kills by Macky Treanor put the Wolverines up and they never looked back as they cruised to a 25-15 win in Set 4.

UVU would have liked to carry that momentum into Set 5 but it wasn’t to be so.  The scrappiness of both teams showed as they clawed for position and for the lead and wouldn’t back down.  Tied at 8 after a media timeout, the Wolverines would go on a run where they would take a commanding 14-10 lead.  Leading 14-10 in Set 3, it looked like they were on their way but 4 quick points by Seattle to tie the game up brought them to a screeching halt.  It went back and forth for a few points with Seattle taking a one point lead only to see UVU tie it back up. Leading 18-17, Seattle senior Alec Goodrie put the finishing touches on the win with a kill and abruptly ended the Wolverines season.

The Wolverines were led by Treanor who had 17 kills in the match followed by Bakker who had 14 of her own kills.  Bakker also had a hitting percentage of .429.  Jen Hardman and Sierra Starley led the way for UVU in the assist category with 21 and 27 assists respectively.  Senior McKenna Tait had a nice finish to her career as she recorded 14 digs.  Martina Samadan led Seattle with 19 kills and was followed by Matea Mamic who had 14 kills.  Kerry Lane finished the night with an astonishing 51 assists for the Redhawks.

It was just one of those nights in Volleyball where the momentum swings were both fun and painful to watch.  UVU showed a lot of grit to force a 5th set and Seattle showed the same gutsy performance in not giving in when down 4 match points.  UVU missed on many opportunities as they had chances to put things away.  It says a lot of these girls that even on the verge of going home and getting ready for set 4, they were dancing, laughing, and enjoying themselves.  It shows that no matter what, you can always have fun playing the game you love.  There is only one team that can win a championship and this year wasn’t meant to be for the Wolverines but the grit that they showed and the determination not to give up can make the 2014 UVU Women’s Volleyball Team proud!

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