Photo by Byron Harward
Fresh off of a conference-play-opening victory over Seattle University last weekend, the UVU volleyball team returned to action Thursday night to take on the GCU Lopes in Phoenix, Ariz. The Lopes were no match for the Wolverines in this one, as UVU (7-10, 2-0) topped GCU (5-10, 0-3) in four sets (25-15, 25-18, 27-25, 25-22).
The Wolverines drew first blood on a Madison Dennison kill, and took a three-point lead several plays later on back to back GCU errors. The UVU lead grew to as many as five when Alexis Davies scored a kill to make the score 9-4. The Lopes fought back with a 4-1 run to cut their deficit to two before an Izzie Hinton kill sparked an 8-2 Wolverine run. GCU was unable to respond as UVU ran away with a first set victory.
Both sides came out hot in the second set as some early back-and-forth saw the teams battle to a 9-9 tie. A Wolverine block broke the stalemate giving UVU a one-point lead that it would not surrender. Moments later, Dennison notched another kill that initiated a critical 6-2 run for UVU. The Lopes late comeback attempt was stifled by the Wolverines, who would hold on for the win in the second set.
The third set saw UVU jump out to another early lead at 2-0, but GCU quickly answered with five straight to go up 5-2. The Wolverines were able to respond and tie the score at 6 on a Dennison kill. The Lopes retook the lead on the next play and they would not look back, watching their advantage grow to seven before staving off a furious UVU comeback bid to secure the win.
The Lopes were able to keep up the momentum going into the fourth set as they took a 3-1 lead early on. The teams traded points for several minutes before the Wolverines eventually tied the score at 8-8 on a Davies kill. The teams battled to three more tie scores before a GCU error sparked a 4-0 run for the Wolverines. The Lopes would not go quietly and answered the Wolverine run with a 5-2 run of its own. Clinging to a two point lead at 20-18, Hinton recorded a clutch kill for the Wolverines as they would hold on to pick up the win in the fourth and final set of the match.
Senior Lexi Thompson led all scorers with 22 kills while Sierra Starley delivered 44 assists and Dennison added eight blocks.
Up next for the Wolverines is a trip to California on Sept. 30 where they will take on Cal State Bakersfield in WAC play before returning home for their conference home opener against UT Rio Grande Valley on Oct. 5.