Seniors shine, show grit in 3-0 loss to GCU

Jasmine Niutupuivaha, senior, middle blocker attempts to send back the incoming ball from GCU. (Photo by Natasha Colburn)

There was a different attitude in Lockhart Arena Saturday, Nov. 2, owing to the fact that it was senior night — the last time Utah Valley University’s seniors would play a regular season home game. The Wolverines showed exceptional grit in their 3-0 loss to Grand Canyon University.

Before the game, families, students and teammates all honored the seniors for UVU. Megan Childs, Madi Wardle, Makaila Jarema and Jasmine Niutupuivaha were all called to half-court, where they were cheered from the stands as they were given flowers.

These seniors played extremely well throughout the entire game. UVU senior middle blocker Jasmine Niutupuivaha received a set and spiked the volleyball down hard in the first set. GCU maintained control and sent the volleyball right back. Niutupuivaha met the ball as it flew just over the net and spiked it down again, this time scoring the point. The lead went back-and-forth in the first set, but in the end GCU won by a score of 25 – 22.

Again in the second set the UVU seniors shined. The set was tied 22-22, when UVU senior middle blocker Makaila Jarema, blocked an attempted spike — something she’s been doing all season. This block gave a clutch point to UVU, who took the lead 23-22. GCU would again come back from behind to take the set 25 -23.

“We at Utah Valley University like to say that we are scrappy and gritty, that’s why I like to come to these games,” said President Astrid Tuminez, who attended the game. The lady Wolverines certainly showed grit in the third set. They didn’t lose any morale and quickly climbed to a 9-3 lead, but GCU managed to block two shots in the third to keep the score close. For the third time of the afternoon, both teams extended the lead past the 20 point margin. UVU kept playing hard, but in the end GCU won the final set. 

UVU, who is currently seeded fifth in the WAC, has a good chance of claiming one of six spots, but will need to finish strong. “This loss sets a fire in us to get back on the court and to improve for future games. We’re going to keep fighting until the end,” said Niutupuivaha. 

The UVU women will show off their grit Thursday, Nov. 7, when they take on the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The match will begin at 6 p.m. MST.

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