Wolverines stumped by Cougars on the road, drop third-straight

Madi Wardle, senior, setter and Seren Merrill, junior, libero getting into position during a home match. (Photo by Natasha Colburn)

Utah Valley University’s volleyball squad fell on the road once again, this time to Chicago State on Saturday, Nov. 9. This was the fourth-straight loss for the Wolverines on the road. 

The loss comes at a bad time too, as the Wolverines are attempting to hit their stride before heading into the WAC tournament in a few weeks. It’s also unfortunate that the loss suffered by UVU is the only conference victory so far this year by CSU. The Cougars were 0-13 in conference play coming into Saturday’s matchup with the Wolverines. 

UVU hasn’t had the best of luck in best-of-5 sets this season either. The Wolverines are now 2-4 this year when matches have come down to the final set.

UVU had no trouble getting off to a good start, however. The visiting team jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the first set and later utilized an 11-1 run to take set one 25-15 with relative ease.

The second set was extremely close throughout. After both teams were knotted up at 21 a piece late in the set, CSU went on a 4-1 run and finished strong to knot the match up at 1-1.

The third set was close as well late as both teams fought back-and-forth and found themselves tied up at 20. After UVU head coach Sam Atoa called a timeout, his team responded with a 5-0 spurt to take the third set 25-20. 

As we all know by now, however, momentum is something that can be hard to reverse if it’s allowed to get going with a full head of steam. The Wolverines were on the wrong side of the momentum swing as the Cougars edged the Wolverines 25-23 in the fourth set and went on to finish the deal 15-8 in the fifth set to secure their first win since mid-September.

Redshirt junior and outside hitter Bailey Christensen led the Wolverines with 14 kills on the day, as redshirt junior setter Jaysa Funk-Stratton tallied 18 assists. 

UVU now travels to Seattle to take on Seattle University on Thursday, Nov. 14, with the first set to start at 7 p.m. MST.

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