UTRGV ends UVU volleyball season in WAC Tournament opener

Vaqueros sweep match and get a bit of payback in win

On Thursday November 12, the Utah Valley University volleyball team secured the No. 3 seed in the Western Athletic Conference volleyball tournament by defeating the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley 3-1. However, Bojana Mitrovic and the Vaqueros had different ideas in the WAC tournament.Volleyball_WAC_Matthew-Hicks

Mirtovic had 25 kills and UTRGV swept the Wolverines in straight sets (25-21, 25-20, 25-14) to earn a spot in the semifinal match against No. 1 seed New Mexico State on Friday.

“It was a tough one tonight,” UVU head coach Sam Atoa said in a statement to wolverinegreen.com. “It was for sure a result that we didn’t expect. You’ve got to give credit to UTRGV. They played a lot better than we did. Overall, it was a disappointing showing from us.”

The impressive run by the Vaqueros started when they went on a 5-0 run with the first set tied at eight. From there, they held off a 7-1 rally by the Wolverines on kills from Haley Durham and Mitrovic to win the set 25-21.

Durham and Mitrovic kept the pressure on to start the second set as they combined for five of the first eight points for the Vaqueros.  Back-to-back blocks by Lauren Bakker and Lexi Thompson helped UVU close the gap to two at 13-11.  But UTRGV went right back to Mitrovic on three consecutive attacks to push the lead back up to six. UVU got within three at 22-19 on a kill by Bakker but two more kills by Mitrovic and a service error gave the set to Vaqueros, 25-20.

In the third set, it was all UTRGV. The Vaqueros jumped out to an 8-3 lead and never looked back. They went on a 6-0 run at one point to push it to 21-8 before UVU scored two points on back-to-back kills by Kelcee Munk and Lexi Thompson.  Mitrovic put the final statement on the set and match with her 25th kill to help the Vaqueros move on.UVUvolley151112_0044

Durham also recorded 11 kills for UTRGV.  Durham and Mitrovic had more kills between them than the entire UVU team on the night.

WAC Freshman of the Year Abby Jensen had 11 kills and 12 digs for her fifth double-double of the season for UVU.

It is the second straight year that the Wolverines season has ended in the quarterfinal round of the WAC Tournament as they lost to Seattle University in five sets in 2014. UVU finishes the season 14-14 overall and 9-5 in the WAC. The loss also marks the final game for senior Lauren Bakker. Bakker finishes her career fourth on the all-time list at UVU in kills with 1,025.  She is the all-time leader in blocks with 579; block assists with 512, solo blocks with 67, and blocks per set average (1.32).

 

Photos courtesy of Matthew Hicks/WAC, & Byron Harward

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