SALT LAKE CITY – Outside hitters Morgan Odale and Chelsey Schofield combined for 45 kills to lead the University of Utah volleyball team to a 3-1 win (25-18, 25-17, 23-25, 16-25) over Washington State in a Pac-12 Conference match Saturday at Crimson Court.
Utah (10-20, 5-16 Pac-12) outhit Washington State in the match .336 to .145, and the Utes held a 57-48 advantage in digs. Team blocks were even at 11 apiece. It was only the eighth match of the year that Utah had not outblocked its opponents.
Odale led a trio of Utah who tallied double-digits in the match. Odale pounded down a career-high-tying 23 kills on 37 swings without an error for a career-high .622 hitting percentage. It was her third 20-plus-kill effort of her career She also had 10 digs in the back row of the Ute defense for her sixth double-double of the year and the 15th over her career.
“I told Morgan (Odale) that now I know what to say to her,” Launiere said. “I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a better performance by an outside hitter, followed closely by (Schofield’s) 22 kills. As a team, we hit well, and the good news is that is what we have been focusing on and it’s paying off.”
Odale notched her 13th double-figure kill match of the season and the 35th of her career. Her previous career high was a .471 hitting percentage set this season against UC Riverside on Sept. 10.
Freshman Chelsey Schofield turned in a career-high 22 kills for her 14th double-digit kill match of the year, the second this season she has registered 20 or more kills in a match.
Sophomore middle blocker Erin Redd just missed her third career double-double as she had 10 kills and a match-high nine blocks. She has 11 matches of 10 kills or more this season and 24 over her career.
Junior setter Abby Simmons obliterated her previous career high with 56 assists to go with nine digs. She also finished just one dig shy of her second double-double this year and the ninth of her career.
“(Simmons) runs the offense and she is getting the ball to the right people,” Launiere said. “We had a good match up against their block and (Odale and Schofield) really did a great job.”
Defensively, Nikki Sim recorded 22nd double-figure dig match of the year with a match-high 19. Freshman Lea Adolph contributed 11 digs for her third double-digit-dig effort of the year.
The Utes took two of the first three points in the opening set, but the Cougars wrestled a 5-2 lead in the early-going. Utah went on an 8-1 run to assume its first lead since the 1-0 point, 12-8. The Utes maintained the lead for the remainder of the set and picked up a 25-18 victory.
Utah outhit WSU in the frame, .303 to .000, and held a 4-3 edge in team blocks. Odale had six kills on six attempts for a 1.000 hitting percentage, while Schofield added five. Utah also out-dug WSU in the opener, 14-7.
There were three ties in the second set (3-3) before an 8-1 stretch by the Utes gave them an 11-4 advantage. Utah led by as many as nine (15-6) before WSU cut its lead to four (16-12), but the Utes recovered a sizeable lead and went on to win the set, 25-17.
The Utes hit .438, compared with a .161 mark for WSU.
The third frame was tied three times, the final one coming at 3-3, before Utah inched ahead with three consecutive scores for a 6-3 edge. The Cougars took five of the next seven to tie the set for the fourth time at eight points apiece.
The set would be tied three more times (13-13) before WSU reeled off three straight for a 16-13 edge. The Cougars maintained their three-point lead (22-19), but Utah answered with three consecutive scores to tie set for the eighth time (23-23), but WSU came away with a 25-23 victory to make the match 2-1 in favor of the Utes.
Utah hit .295, but yielded a .303 mark to the WSU attack.
The fourth frame was even three times (5-5) before an Adolph service ace gave Utah its first lead of the set. Utah worked its way to a 7-5 edge and would lead by as many as nine (23-14) en route to a 25-16 win to clinch the match.
Odale came through with five kills on 10 attempts without an error in the final frame as Utah outhit Washington State, .325 to .105, and earned a 4-1 advantage in team blocks.
Meagan Ganzer led Washington State (12-18, 4-16 Pac-12) with 15 kills, while Shawna Lum turned in a team-high 12 digs.
“The team is hungry and tonight was really positive,” Launiere said. “They are just really hungry to finish on a positive note so we will be ready for Wednesday night.”
The Utes host Colorado in the final match of the season Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. MT.
Fans can watch the match live at http://utahutes.cstv.com/allaccess/?media=259545.
Mike DeVine is an assistant athletic communications director for the
University of Utah