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Utah volleyball: Ute volleyball comeback falls short against Santa Clara

By Mike DeVine

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, Aug. 31 2012 10:39 p.m. MDT

DAVIS, Calif. - The University of Utah volleyball team came back from an 11-8 deficit in the fifth and decisive set and forced three more ties, but the Utes ultimately fell to Santa Clara, 3-2 (25-21, 21-25, 25-20, 20-25, 16-18), Friday in the first match of the UC Davis Aggie Invitational.

The Utes fell behind in the fifth frame by a three-point margin at 11-8 after the Broncos took four of five points. Utah promptly countered with a 4-1 spurt of its own to tie the set at 12-12. The back-and-forth continued between the squads as the set would be tied two more times before a bad set by the Broncos gave the Utes a 16-15 lead, their first in the set since being ahead 7-6. But Santa Clara was able to tie the frame for the 10th and final time before going on to claim the match with an 18-16 win. SCU picked up a .269-.240 edge in hitting percentage in the finale as well a 3.0-0.0 advantage in service aces, while team blocks were even at 1.0 apiece.

Utah (5-1) sophomore outside hitter Chelsey Schofield tallied a match-high 21 kills in the contest, including four in the fifth set, to go with a team-high 10 digs and four blocks. Twenty-one kills from Schofield tied her season-high mark and her double-double effort was her second such performance in three matches and the 10th of her career. The Provo, Utah, native has been in double-digits in kills in 11 straight matches, including all six this year, and has been over 20 on a pair of occasions in 2012.

Junior middle blocker Erin Redd claimed match-high honors with a season-high .524 hitting percentage as she registered 13 kills on 21 swings with just two errors to go with four blocks.

Senior setter McKenzie Odale registered 41 assists and contributed defensively with a season-high-tying nine digs as well as three blocks.

Defensively, sophomore middle blocker Bailey Bateman posted a team-high five blocks. The Hooper, Utah, native has led or tied for the team lead in blocks in five of six matches this season. She also turned in five kills and dished out her first career assist.

In the back row of the Ute defense, junior outside hitter Morgan Odale had nine digs and added seven kills, while sophomore defensive specialist Lea Adolph turned in her third eight-dig performance in 2012.

For the match, the Broncos held a .252-.225 advantage in hitting percentage over the Utes, while blocks were equal at 10.0 apiece.

In the first set of the match, Utah quickly grabbed an early 2-1 edge and never relinquished its lead for the remainder of the frame en route to a 25-21 win. Redd led the way with three kills on six swings for a .333 hitting percentage as well as three blocks to help the Utes oublock the Broncos in the opener, 4.5 to 0.0.

Santa Clara returned the favor in the second set after scoring the first point and never looking back on the way a 25-21 victory of its own to even the match at one win apiece. Schofield heated up with five kills on eight attempts with only one error, hitting for a .500 clip. The Utes were outhit .219 to .160 and outblocked 4.0 to 1.0 in the set.

The third frame brought more give-and-take between the teams as Santa Clara took a slight 7-5 lead, but Utah fought back to came back to tie the set for the fourth time at 9-9 and would go on to take five of the next six points to assume a 14-11 lead. The Utes would lead by no fewer than two points for the rest of the set and would eventually take a 25-20 win. Schofield continued to pace the Utah offense with four more kills, while Redd chipped in three, to help the Utes gain a .172 to .080 advantage in team hitting percentage.

The Broncos jumped out to a 7-3 edge in the fourth and would lead by as many as eight (18-10) during a 25-20 fourth-set victory to tie the match at two sets apiece. Schofield poured on six more kills on 13 swings with just a pair of errors for a .308 clip, and the Utes maintained a 2.5-1.0 advantage in team blocks. The SCU offense was crisp in the fourth as it posted a .333 team hitting percentage, compared to a .226 mark for Utah.

The loss broke Utah's seven-match win streak that began on Nov. 19, 2011.

Santa Clara improved to 5-0 with the win and was led by a 20-kill, 13-dig performance by Taylor Milton. Milton hit .405 on the attack with only five miscues on 37 attempts. Haley Cameron and Kayla Lommori shared match-high honor with six blocks apiece.

The Utes look to bounce back tonight against tournament host UC Davis at 7 p.m. PT. Follow the live stats at ucdavisaggies.com.

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