UVU volleyball falls 3-2 in heartbreaker against Chicago State

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Photo credit: Angela Davis

On Sept. 20, UVU’s volleyball team came just short of the win against the Chicago State Cougars after falling in five sets.

During the last and most competitive set, it came down to the final moments. Leading 14-13, the Wolverines gave up the last three points of the night to narrowly miss out on a victory in their own Lockhart Arena.

“When it really mattered there at the end, they played better than we did,” said head coach Sam Atoa. “There is definitely a lot to learn in any circumstance, situation, or game. For sure, it is disappointing. Even though we found ourselves competitive there at the end, we definitely have to get ourselves to take care of things better.”

In the opening set, UVU jumped ahead early, starting off the game with a 9-3 lead. However, the Cougars began to cut down on the gap. A big block from junior Makaila Jarema stopped the initial rally, but ultimately Chicago State was still able to pull ahead 15-14. From there, UVU failed to regain control and ended up falling 25-20.

UVU entered the second set determined not to repeat their early mistakes. Right off the bat, freshman Kazna Tarawhiti had an impressive save and kill to give the Wolverines the first point. This time, UVU took advantage of their early momentum to build a huge 16-5 lead. A few late saves from sophomore Seren Merrill helped seal the game, with the final score landing at 25-14.

“Going into that game, I was a little angry, and I just really wanted to help my team,” said Tarawhiti, who finished the set with a match-high 10 kills.

Now at an even 1-1, UVU was ready to take control. After a close start, a series of big plays from sophomore Kristen Allred helped the Wolverines pull ahead 13-8. They only extended their lead even more before again finishing 25-14. Allred led the way with five kills and junior Madi Wardle added 10 assists.

However, the Cougars proved they weren’t finished yet, building an early 13-7 lead on UVU to start the fourth set. While the Wolverines continued to fight, they came up short, 25-21.

In the last set, UVU trailed 12-7 before calling two timeouts. The timeouts seemed to give them the drive they needed to bounce back and take the lead. However, the Wolverines failed to close it out and the Cougars scored three straight to come away as the victors.

“I have to give Chicago State credit,” said Tarawhiti. “We unfortunately didn’t play the way we wanted to. We couldn’t put the ball away, we couldn’t pass at times, and we weren’t consistent with what we needed to do, but we can’t really do much about it now except get in the gym and work even harder.”

This game marked UVU’s third straight loss and dropped them to 8-6 on the season.