Photo courtesy UVU Athletics
OREM, Utah—After a weekend in Hawaii where it recorded a 1-2 record, the Utah Valley University volleyball team returned home Tuesday night to face Utah State at the UCCU Center. UVU (4-7) was unable to capitalize on home court advantage as it fell to USU (5-5) in four sets (24-26, 25-6, 16-25, 20-25).
The Wolverines got out to an early lead in the first set that was extended to six when Madison Dennison scored on back-to-back kills to make it 15-9 in favor of the Wolverines. But the Aggies mounted a furious comeback that began with a controversial call at the net to tie the score at 24-24. The Wolverines were unable to score again, and lost a close first set.
UVU came out on fire in the second set by opening with five straight points. The Wolverines lead increased to 13 after Madison Dennison once again recorded back-to-back kills to make it 15-2. From that point, UVU went on a 10-4 scoring run to close out the set as it won handily.
After a back-and-forth start to the third set, the Aggies went on a five-point run to pull ahead of the Wolverines 10-5. The Aggie lead was cut to two when Izzie Hinton recorded a kill for the Wolverines to make the score 16-14. That was as close as the Wolverines would get however, as they were unable to keep up with the Aggies.
The fourth set featured five early ties, the last one came with the teams deadlocked at 8-8. Utah State broke the tie when they blocked a Kiahna Vernon attack and led the rest of the way as they won the final set and the game.
“It was disappointing,” said head coach Sam Atoa. “I felt like we were well prepared, we had some good momentum and we were at home.”
Madison Dennison was a standout for the Wolverines, as she recorded 12 kills and adding 10 blocks. Izzie Hinton contributed 10 kills of her own. Utah State was led by Kaylie Kamalu-Smith who recorded a game-high 19 kills.
Up next for the Wolverines is the BYU/UVU Invitational Sept. 16-17. The Wolverines will take on the UNLV Rebels Sept. 16 before facing the CSUN Matadors Sept. 17. Both games will be in Orem, Utah at the UCCU Center.