Volleyball swept by No. 13 BYU in opener

Photo courtesy of UVU Athletics

PROVO, Utah—The Utah Valley University volleyball team opened the 2016 campaign in front of a raucous, sold out Smith Fieldhouse, as it fell to BYU in three sets (25-14, 25-14, 25-13).

Things looked promising early as the Wolverines scored the first two points of the match to quiet the BYU faithful, but the home team then responded as they tied the game up at 6-6. Lead by sophomore Lyndie Haddock and freshman Mary Lake, the Cougars went on a series of runs to pull away, on their way to a (25-14) first set win.

The Wolverines once again struck first in the second set, by way of a service ace from junior Sierra Starley. The two teams traded blows to a 9-9 tie, until BYU responded with three straight points to make it 12-9, which led to a Wolverine timeout. Following the timeout, the teams split the next six points and UVU still trailed by just three.

The No. 13 Cougars then took control and never looked back, pulling away to yet another set victory (25-14). The spurt was sparked again by Haddock and senior Hannah Robison. With the record-breaking crowd behind them, the Cougars were looking for the sweep.

UVU came out of intermission ready to push BYU in set number three as they trailed just 6-5 early on. The Cougars then reeled off four straight points to make it 10-5, forcing another Wolverine timeout. The defending West Coast Conference champions then turned aggressive, on their way to a 21-10 lead as the crowd came to their feet. They finished off UVU in the final set by a score of 25-13.

Behind the roar of 4,672 fans Friday night, BYU seized control. The team was picked to finish second in the WCC, and they played with a sense of urgency the entire night.

“This is where we want to be. I felt like the girls tried, we just made one too many mistakes,” head coach Sam Atoa said.

The Wolverines will conclude the BYU Invitational Saturday against Cal Poly and Rice at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., respectively.

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