The Utah Valley University volleyball team returned to action Friday night to take on University of Nevada Las Vegas at the UCCU Center in the first game of the BYU/UVU Invitational. The Wolverines were looking to bounce back from a deflating loss to Utah State their last time out. But UNLV (10-0) proved to be too much for UVU (4-8) as the Wolverines fell to the Rebels in four sets (17-25, 30-28, 12-25, 12-25).
“I really did not expect that we would just kind of fall apart there in those last two sets,” set head coach Sam Atoa. “We had that momentum, winning that [second set], but just kind of struggled coming out of the break.”
UVU started the scoring in the first set as Izzie Hinton recorded a kill to put the Wolverines up 1-0. Utah Valley wouldn’t lead again in the set though as UNLV slowly built a commanding lead and went on to win the first set handily.
The second set was a battle as the two teams recorded 13 ties and four lead changes. The Wolverines looked as though they may have begun to pull away when a Kiahna Vernon block made it 21-15 in favor of UVU. The Rebels would not go quietly however as they slowly chipped away at the deficit and eventually tied the score when Sadie Stutzman recorded a kill to make it 24-24. The teams remained deadlocked until a Rebel error finally secured the win for UVU in their highest scoring set of the season.
UNLV was able regroup in the third set as they came out firing. Led by Stutzman, who notched six kills in the set, the Rebels opened up a big lead early that they never relinquished, leading by as many as 15 before eventually winning.
The Wolverines looked like they had some fight left as the fourth set began with the teams trading points. With the score tied at 4-4 Stutzman came through once again for the Rebels, recording a kill that gave them the lead at 5-4 and sparked a 9-2 scoring run. The Wolverines seemed to run out of gas at that point as they didn’t offer much response, falling to the Rebels by another wide margin.
Up next for UVU is California State University Northridge at the UCCU Center Saturday.