OREM– After an unsuccessful road trip during which they lost their first two conference games of the season, the Utah Valley University volleyball team returned home Thursday night to take on Chicago State University, which was picked to finish last in the pre-season conference poll. The Wolverines entered the contest on a five match losing streak, having not won since beating Northern Illinois in Hawaii on Sept. 10.
UVU (5-11, 1-2) came out looking for a win in their first conference game in the UCCU Center, and they were not disappointed, as they handled CSU (2-14, 0-2) in three sets (25-13, 25-14, 25-8).
The Wolverines scored the first five points of the opening set before CSU’s Paige Eyring finally got the Cougars on the board recording a kill that made it 5-1. Lexi Thompson responded for UVU with a kill of her own that sparked a seven point scoring run for the Wolverines giving them a ten point lead at 12-2. Chicago State was unable to respond as Utah Valley won the first set handily.
The second set looked as if it would be much more competitive than the first with the teams trading points in the early going. With the score tied at 4-4 Madison Dennison and Kiahna Vernon came up big at the net with a block that broke the tie and gave UVU a lead they would not relinquish for the rest of the set. The Wolverines finished on a 21-10 run to take the set in dominant fashion.
UVU was able to retain the momentum heading into the third set as they quickly built a commanding lead. CSU seemed to run out of gas as they were unable to put up much of a fight in what would be the final set. Fueled by a set-high four kills from Kelcee Munk the Wolverines went on to win 25-8. Coach Sam Atoa praised his team’s performance after the victory.
“I’m real proud of their effort and the way that they executed both offensively and defensively. That’s something that we’re going to have to keep sustaining,” he said.
Offensively the Wolverines were led by Thompson and Dennison who both recorded nine kills. Sierra Starley contributed to the cause with 21 assists.
Next up for the Wolverines is conference foe Missouri Kansas City on Oct. 1 in the UCCU Center.