Wolverines drop 5-set heartbreaker to defending WAC tournament champions
Kyle McDonald | Sports editor | @kylesportsbias
Bakersfield, CA — The Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners came back and stole a Western Athletic Conference volleyball match in a five set thriller, 3-2 from Utah Valley University on Saturday afternoon at the Icardo Center (27-25, 14-25, 20-25, 25-17, 19-17).
“It was a heartbreaker today. I felt like the girls played really, really hard in this one. Unfortunately, the result just didn’t go our way,” said head coach Sam Atoa in a statement to wolverinegreen.com. “It’s a tough lesson to learn, but hopefully we’ll regroup and be ready to go next week.”
It was just the first lost in the last five matches for the Wolverines and their first on their current four-match road trip. The loss dropped UVU to 13-11 overall and 8-3 in the WAC. They fall a game behind Bakersfield who moved up to second in the WAC standings and are 10-12 overall, 8-2 in conference.
In the first set with UVU leading 25-24 and at set-point after a Madison Dennison kill, CSUB scored the final three points of the set to take the first set 27-25.
UVU jumped out to an early 8-2 lead in set two and cruised to an 11-point win. Lauren Bakker had five of her 17 kills in set two and Abby Jensen recorded five of her 22 kills as well to help the Wolverines win the set 25-14.
The Wolverines jumped out to a 17-10 lead in the third set and held off a rally attempt by the ‘Runners to win the set 25-20. Jensen had seven kills in the set for UVU.
Bakersfield responded in set four by jumping out to a 6-0 lead, which UVU cut to three at one point but the ‘Runners went on another burst to win the set by eight points and set the stage for a huge fifth set.
In the fifth set, it was all Bakersfield at the beginning as they ran out to a 7-2 lead. UVU got within one at 9-8 and then again at 14-13. Abby Jensen kept the Wolverines in the set with a kill to tie it up. It went back and forth with no team making enough plays to win the set and match until finally the ‘Runners reeled off two straight points to take the set 19-17 and win the match.
Dennison had eight kills and five blocks and Kiahna Steiner had five kills, four blocks and three serving aces.
Bakersfield’s Carol Grasso led all players in kills with 23 while Kelsee Sawyer chipped in 21.
UVU travels to Seattle to take on the Redhawks in their final road contest of the season on Saturday November 7.
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