The Utah Valley Wolverines snapped their three-game losing streak on Thursday night, Nov. 14, when they visited the Redhawks of Seattle University behind a strong offensive outing by sophomore outside hitter Kazna Tarawhiti and her 25 kills.
The offense wasn’t the only thing clicking for the Wolverines, though. While UVU hit at a .276 clip on the night and tallied 10 more kills than SU, their defense also held the Redhawks to a measly .193 hitting percentage on the night.
UVU started the match slowly, allowing the home team to get out to a 5-2 lead on back-to-back aces. UVU then went on a 4-1 scoring spurt, forcing a tie at 6-6. A 3-0 run saw the Redhawks regain the advantage at 9-6 and, while leading 11-10, SU pieced together a 5-0 run with aces to extend the margin to 16-10. The Wolverines threatened with a 4-1 spurt of their own, but it was too late as the Redhawks used different runs of 4-0 and 3-0 to take the opener 25-17.
UVU started out quickly in the second set, gunning out to a 7-3 lead to open things up. The Redhawks followed that up by trimming the deficit to two with a 3-1 burst. The sides then exchanged scoring possessions until back-to-back kills from SU tied the frame at 12 apiece.
The Wolverines answered with a 6-1 rally, pushing their advantage to 18-13. The Redhawks fought back twice, pulling within one as a 5-1 rally made it 19-18. Down 24-22, the Redhawks recorded back-to-back tallies forcing a tie at 24. The comeback effort fell short, however, as the Wolverines scored two straight to even the match 1-1.
In the third set, the Wolverines were up 14-9 midway through, when the Redhawks registered back-to-back scores to cut the deficit to three. UVU answered back with a 6-2 run to take a commanding 20-13 lead. UVU won set three 25-17 after going on to hit .538 in that particular set.
Rather than allowing SU to hang around and prolong the match, UVU jumped out to a 6-1 run in the fourth and another 5-0 surge that pushed the lead 12-4. The Redhawks tried to battle back, but it was to no avail. UVU ended up winning the set 25-19 and secured the win on the road.
In addition to Tarawhiti hitting .378 on the night, senior middle blocker Makaila Jarema led the way defensively as she tallied six blocks on the evening. The Wolverines collected nine blocks total. Junior libero Seren Merrill kept the back row in line with 14 digs, which was the most of both teams on the night.
The Wolverines will now close out the regular season on the road against California Baptist on Saturday, Nov. 16, with game time scheduled for 2 p.m. MST. Following the conclusion of the regular season, UVU will then return home to Orem to host the school’s first ever WAC volleyball tournament on Nov. 21-23.