Utah Valley University came up short in their final game of the 2019 Hawaii Outrigger Hotels & Resorts Volleyball Challenge against West Virginia University. The Wolverines lost the match in three straight sets. The Wolverines went 0-3 in the tournament, despite three intense matches with stellar opponents.
WVU led off the first set hot, but UVU’s outside hitters Kazna Tarawhiti and Bailey Christensen, a sophomore and redshirt junior, came up with three kills apiece to keep them in the set. The Mountaineers would remain on top, winning the first set 15-25.
UVU put up quite a fight in the second set. This time, the Wolverines captured an early 6-3 lead over WVU. Tarawhiti, Christensen and senior middle blocker Jasmine Niutupuivaha held the energy through the set. Tarawhiti led UVU with 10 kills on the day, followed by Christensen with seven and Niutupuivaha with six.
As the second set wound down, the teams found themselves tied at 23 a piece. But, WVU would pull through on a couple rallies to win the set 25-27.
In the final set, UVU fought their way back to tie the match at 8-8 with back-to-back kills from Christensen and sophomore middle blocker Sadie Hamson. Regardless of those kills, WVU was able to seal the deal with a few three-point runs to finish the third set 17-25.
Junior labero Seren Merrill led the Wolverines back row with 18 digs, and Tarawhiti was the team-leader in blocks with four.
UVU’s next matchup is in-state foe Utah State in Logan on Wednesday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. MST. From there, the Wolverines will contend in home matches against Weber State on Thursday, Sept. 19 at 6 p.m. MST. Followed by the opening of WAC play against New Mexico State on Thursday, Sept. 26 at 6 p.m. MST.
Photo by Natasha Colburn