Photo by Cody Glassett
After a loss last time out at the hands of UTRGV in its conference home opener, the UVU volleyball team returned to the Lockhart Arena Saturday afternoon to take on the Aggies of New Mexico State. Despite trailing 2-1 after the third set, UVU (8-12, 3-2) was able to grind out a victory over NMSU (11-8, 3-2) in five sets (22-25, 25-17, 22-25, 25-20, 15-10).
The Aggies got out to a hot start in the opening set, jumping out to an early 3-0 lead before the Wolverines were able to get on the board. NMSU increased its lead to five at 7-2 before a couple of Kristen Allred kills led a 7-3 run for the Wolverines, who saw their deficit cut to just one at 10-9. Still trailing by one, Alexis Davies came up with a big time kill to tie the score at 14 before a Madison Dennison block gave the Wolverines an 18-17 lead several plays later. The Aggies proved to be too much, however, as they held on down the stretch to win the first set.
The second set featured some early back-and-forth as the teams battled to a 7-7 tie that was broken on an Allred kill which sparked a 4-0 Wolverine run. Several plays later a NMSU kill pulled the Aggies to within two at 15-13. That was as close as the Aggies would come, however, as UVU held on for a dominant second set win.
Both teams came out firing in the third set as they found themselves once again tied at 7-7 in the opening minutes. A pivotal block by the Wolverines kicked off another 4-0 run to give the Wolverines a comfortable lead early. NMSU slowly chipped away at the deficit before eventually tying the score at 15-15. The remainder of the set was hotly contested, but the Aggies held on to take a 2-1 lead.
The fourth set was tight in the early goings, as the teams traded points en route to a 4-4 tie before a pair of Aggie errors gave UVU a 6-4 lead. The Wolverines retained the lead until an Aggie service ace tied the score at 11-all. Back to back kills from Dennison led to a 3-0 run by the Wolverines to regain the lead at 14-11. The Aggies responded with a 5-1 run of their own to take a one point lead at 16-15 before the Wolverines came roaring back. After another Dennison kill tied things up again, UVU closed out the set on a 9-4 run to seal the win in the fourth.
The Wolverines scored first in the fifth set on a huge block from senior Davies and quickly built a 3-1 lead. The Aggies fought back, tying the score at 4-4 but the Wolverines were able to respond, reclaiming the lead 6-5 on a Sierra Starley kill. Moments later a pair of Allred kills fueled a 5-0 run by the Wolverines as they were able to pick up a fifth set win to take the match.
Dennison paced the Wolverines with 16 kills and seven blocks while Lexi Thompson recorded 14 kills and Starley contributed with 44 assists.
Up next for UVU is a trip to Chicago to face Chicago State on Thursday, October 12, before heading to Kansas City, Mo., for a showdown with UMKC on Saturday, October 14.