Volleyball: Weekend sweep puts UVU in second place in WAC

Photo by Byron Harward

After beginning conference play with a 2-2 mark, the volleyball team has now won three straight, including both games of its weekend road trip.

Following a five-set victory over perennial WAC power New Mexico State last Saturday at the Lockhart Arena, the Wolverines hit the road for visits to Chicago State and Missouri-Kansas City on Thursday and Saturday, respectively.

UVU entered its matchup with CSU with confidence, having won 18 of its previous 20 meetings against the Cougars. Led by 14 kills from Lexi Thompson, the Wolverines would improve upon that record as they recorded a 3-0 sweep Thursday night in Chicago (25-22, 25-22, 25-19).

The only tenuous episode of the evening for the Wolverines came in the second set as CSU kept things close, forcing 12 ties and seven lead changes. With the teams deadlocked at 21-21 late in the set, Kristen Allred scored a clutch kill that powered UVU to a 4-1 closeout run.

“Lexi did a nice job of hitting for us,” said head coach Sam Atoa in a statement to GoUVU.com. “The girls played well. I’m proud of them for coming in and executing tonight.”

Madison Dennison also added to her nation-leading block total with five on the night.

The Wolverines then set out for Kansas City, MO, looking to carry their momentum into the matchup with UMKC. Despite a little more pushback from the opponent, UVU was able to head home with a victory over the Kangaroos Saturday afternoon (27-29, 25-14, 25-21, 25-18).

The opening set was a grueling affair, as 18 tie scores were recorded and the lead changed hands six times. At one point the Wolverines were able to build a four point lead at 19-15 before UMKC responded with a 5-1 run to tie the score at 21-21. The remainder of the match was back-and-forth, but it was the Kangaroos that were ultimately able to hang on for the first set victory.

Trailing 1-0, the Wolverines responded in big way as they would win the next three sets in commanding fashion, including an 11-point second-set victory.

Three Wolverines recorded double-digit kills in this one, while Dennison added another five blocks and Sierra Starley contributed with 44 assists.

With the pair of victories, UVU is 10-12 on the year and 5-2 in conference play, finding itself in a three-way tie for second place behind UTRGV at 6-1.

UVU will be seeking to emulate its red-hot finish from last season, during which the team won 11 of 13 to end the year. The Wolverines will look to keep their current streak alive when they play host to Seattle on Saturday, Oct. 21, as they begin the second half of their conference slate.

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