Utah Valley loses a close game against WAC opponent UT Arlington 3-1 (25-16, 25-18, 25-22, 26-24) dropping a key game and dropping their overall record to 9-15 overall and 6-7 in conference play.
Once again, the Wolverines inability to win close sets proved to be their undoing in a key game.
The first set started off as a battle, with both teams striking early with solid attacks until UT Arlington blew the set wide open with a ferocious 5-1 run headlined by freshman Evyn Snook, and helped by a couple Wolverine errors.
From there the Mavericks would start to run away with the set, with sloppy play by Utah Valley allowing UT Arlington to build a substantial lead that not even a 4-0 UVU run could rectify.
Regardless of these Wolverine woes, once again Avery Shewell was having an excellent set, being a bright spot for this rough opening. But not even her heroics could save Utah Valley, who fell in the first set, with the Mavericks finishing them off with a final 4-0 run.
The Wolverines would come back in a major way however in the second set, when a deadlocked 5-5 set gave way to a monumental Wolverine stretch of play.
Started by a Kaela Kennedy kill, UVU would go on a tear first, going on a 5-0 run headlined by four straight Maverick errors. From there, the Wolverines would start to sprint out to one of the biggest leads of the day, helped by Tori Ellis, who would add several kills. Vittoria Prices’ defensive prowess was invaluable late in the set, and a final Ellis kill would almost flip the result from the first set, going from losing set one 25-16, to winning set two 25-18.
This third set was the most important of the night, and it was a dogfight from start to finish. The Wolverines jumped out to a quick four point lead that was just as quickly squandered by three Wolverine errors.
Utah Valley would then jump out to yet another four point lead as three straight points by Shewell would bolster the Wolverines efforts. Unfortunately, even that was in vain, as a 6-0 run by the Mavericks would completely flip the set, as now the Wolverines were the ones on the back foot.
That 6-0 run would prove to be the dagger as the Mavericks quickly took control of the set, with a final kill by UT Arlington sealing the set at 25-22.
The final set of the night was the closest yet, with neither team able to find a substantial lead at any point, both teams were finding it hard to find their footing offensively and eventually the set came down to the final points of the match.With the Wolverines down 19-21, a key kill by Kaela Kennedy brought the set to within one, but the Mavericks defense would stop UVU from being able to take the lead.
An error by UT Arlington, and another block by Vagana and Shewell would once again bring the set to within one, but unfortunately Utah Valley couldn’t close it out, with the Mavericks scoring the final two points of the match and winning 26-24.
UVU played some great volleyball tonight, but unfortunately once again had trouble closing out this important game against a WAC opponent down the stretch, and failed to win the points that mattered most.
Utah Valley will now face WAC leader Stephen F. Austin, who is on a 13 game winning streak, and who has not lost a single conference game this year. The two will meet up Saturday Nov. 4, the game will be broadcast on ESPN+.