SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah Valley University fell to the University of Utah 3-0 (18-25, 17-25, 19-25) Tuesday night at Crimson Court in Salt Lake City. It was the second straight match against a Pac-12 opponent for the Wolverines who dropped a 3-0 decision to Arizona on Saturday. The match also stood as the first round of the Utah Classic, which resumes for UVU on Sept. 14 against Nevada and Cal Poly.
"Utah played very well tonight, as they have all season, and were disciplined in their offense," said UVU head volleyball coach Sam Atoa. "I didn't feel like we were that far away, though. They hit and blocked a little bit better than we did. We need to get back in the gym and focus on those areas."
UVU (1-3) looked sharpest in the early going when it got out to a quick 6-2 lead to begin the match behind kills from McKenna Tait and Erica Nish. But 13 of the next 19 points belonged to Utah (5-0). A short Ute run saw the set tied at 8, and after the two squads traded points for a spurt, the home team finally gained some separation after a 5-1 run made the score 16-13.
A kill from Lindsay Morrell and an ace from Patti Hatch got the Wolverines back on track, but kills from Morgan Odale and Chelsey Schofield returned the advantage to Utah. The Utes would go on to take set one 25-18.
Schofield delivered a set-high seven kills for the Utes and Morgan Odale added five more. UVU was paced by nine assists from Hall and three kills apiece form Morell and Tait.
Utah, which is off to its best start since 2002, led from start to finish in the second set, grabbing a 25-17 win. The Wolverines, after surrendering three straight points to begin the match, clawed to within two points of the Utes on several occasions in the frame but could never break the deficit.
Tait and Morrell duplicated their output from the first frame, coming up with three kills apiece. Nish and freshman Lauren Stringham posted a pair of block assists with the latter also tallying a solo block.
Trailing 10-4 in the third set, UVU got back into the game with a 4-0 run. The short outburst started with a kill from Stringham and also featured a kill and block assist from Fritzler. A 3-0 run from Utah followed, but the Wolverines kept within striking distance, pulling to within 16-13 after Morrell pounded a kill then combined with Stringham for a block assist. But yet another 3-0 Ute run grew the deficit too big, too late as UVU dropped the third and final set 25-19.
Stringham led UVU with three kills in the last frame, and Hall added eight assists to bring her game total to 23.
Morrell led the Wolverines on the attack with a team-high eight kills followed by seven from Tait and five from Stringham.
Utah's Schofield, who entered the match ranked eighth in the NCAA in kills added a game-high 11 to bring her season total to 64.
UVU takes a short break from regular season play to host its annual Alumni Game Friday night at 6 p.m. The Wolverines' home opener follows Tuesday, Sept. 4, when the Wildcats of Weber State come to Orem. The WSU match will be televised by UVU TV.
Kellen Hiser is sports information assistant at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.