Wolverines advance to WAC Final

UVU volleyball advanced to the WAC Final with a win over Grand Canyon on Friday, April 2, 2021. (Photo courtesy of UVU Athletics)

The Utah Valley women’s volleyball team prolonged their season at least another day as they took down the Grand Canyon Antelopes 3-1 in the semifinals of the WAC tournament on April 2 at Lockhart Arena.

The semifinal matchup was the third straight between the Wolverines and Lopes, with the two teams splitting the regular season capper. In the first set, both teams traded points in the early going, but GCU was ultimately able to take control with a 9-3 run to take a 15-10 lead. The Lopes’ lead was reduced to as small as one but never relinquished for the remainder of the set, with GCU coming out on top 25-19.

Set two was all UVU from the start, but things got dicey towards the end of the set. The Wolverines jumped out to a 12-4 lead and used that advantage to hold the Lopes at bay. UVU’s lead never got smaller than six until the Lopes fended off eight consecutive set points to cut the Wolverine lead down to one, but a kill by WAC Player of the Year Kazna Tanuvasa finally won the set 25-23.

The third set was back and forth as neither team led by more than two points for the entirety of the set. Another kill by Tanuvasa clinched the set for the Wolverines, winning it 25-23.  

UVU started off the fourth set with an 11-4 run that helped provide a lift for the remainder of the set. GCU responded with a run of their own to tie the score at 19 before the Wolverines responded with a 5-3 burst to force match point. The Lopes kept their season alive temporarily with three straight points to force a set point, but UVU responded with three points of their own to win the set and the match 27-25. 

Tanuvasa led the Wolverines with 16 kills while Kristen Bell added another 14. Kendra Nock had 12 kills and a game-high eight blocks. Jaysa Funk Stratton logged her third double-double of the season with 27 assists and 10 digs.

With the victory, the Wolverines will advance to the finals, where they will face top-seeded New Mexico State with an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament on the line. The two teams split the season series, with UVU winning the first match in five sets and the Aggies sweeping the second meeting. The final is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. on Saturday and can be streamed on ESPN+. 

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