Volleyball: UVU falls to Cal State Bakersfield in five sets

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Photo by Byron Harward

Fresh off a victory over Grand Canyon last time out, the UVU volleyball team returned to action Saturday afternoon to take on the Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners in conference play. Despite having a late lead in this one, the Wolverines were unable to hold on as CSUB (10-8, 4-0) topped UVU (7-10, 2-1) in a five set nail biter (26-28, 25-22, 25-23, 16-25, 15-17).

After an Alexis Davies kill tied things up at 3-3 in the opening set, CSUB found its stride and tore off a 6-1 run to take a five point lead at 9-4. The Roadrunner lead grew to seven before the Wolverines were able to respond. Led by a couple of Izzie Hinton kills, UVU went on a 4-1 lead of its own and began chipping away at the deficit. The Wolverines would eventually tie the score 22-22 on a Madison Dennison kill and then take the lead on the ensuing play after a Roadrunner error. UVU was unable to close it out, however, and CSUB held on for a narrow first set victory.

The second set began as the first had ended, with the teams battling to seven ties and five lead changes early in this one. With the score knotted at 11-11, another Dennison kill sparked a 3-0 run and gave the Wolverines a lead they would not relinquish again in the set. A late comeback attempt by the Roadrunners was denied as the Wolverines would go on to victory in the second.

True to the theme of the match, the third set was another tooth-and-nail affair early on. After trading points in the opening moments, UVU built a four point lead at 9-5 before CSUB reeled off four straight to tie the score at 9-9. After several lead changes, the teams found themselves in another deadlock at 18-all when Lexi Thompson recorded a clutch kill that kicked off a 4-0 run and put the Wolverines up for good. The Roadrunners were unable to respond as UVU scored the win to take a 2-1 lead.

The early moments of the fourth set once again saw multiple ties and lead changes. With the score tied at 11-11, a Roadrunner error gave the lead back to UVU. On the next play, a CSUB kill initiated a 7-0 run for the Roadrunners to give them a commanding lead. UVU was unable to respond as it surrendered the set to CSUB to force a fifth set.

Behind another Thompson kill and several Roadrunner errors, UVU quickly built a comfortable four point lead at 7-3 in the fifth set. After some back and forth action, the Wolverines found themselves still leading 13-10 and needing only two points to seal the victory. UVU was unable to hang on, however, as the Roadrunners answered with a 4-1 run to tie things up at 14-14 before scoring the deciding point moments later to take the set and win the match.

“You’ve got to give Bakersfield credit for making one more play than we did. It was good volleyball, competitive volleyball, and we were just one swing away,” said head coach Sam Atoa in a statement to GoUVU.com.

The Wolverine scoring attack was once again led by Thompson who recorded 19 kills while Dennison added 10 kills of her own to go along with 10 blocks.

The Wolverines will return home next week to host UT Rio Grande Valley on Oct. 5 in their conference home opener before welcoming New Mexico State to the Lockhart Arena on Oct. 7.