SALT LAKE CITY – Sophomore outside hitter Shelby Dalton tied her career high for kills with her first double-digit effort of the season, and the University of Utah volleyball team swept Cal Poly (25-13, 25-23, 25-21) on Friday in its second match of the 2012 Utah Classic at Crimson Court.
Utah (8-4) won its second straight match after outblocking Cal Poly, 9.0 to 6.0, and earned a 5-2 edge in service aces. The Utes are now 7-1 in 2012 when totaling more team blocks than their opponents.
“I was pleased with how the things we worked on in practice this week showed up in the match,” Utah head coach Beth Launiere said. “We made some improvements and were especially good in the first set. We dropped off a little bit in set two, but the things we worked on, we improved on.”
The biggest discrepancy between the squads came in hitting percentage as Utah hit for a .276 clip, compared to just .086 for Cal Poly. The Utes have outhit their opponents in all eight of their victories this season.
“We hit above our average percentage this season,” Launiere said. “I’m very pleased with that, and to hold our opponent to .086. We’ve been back and forth with our defense being on and our offense being on, it was more of a complete match for us.”
Dalton tied her career high of 11 kills for the third time on just 17 swings with one error for a season-high .588 hitting percentage. The Moab, Utah native also had three blocks and a pair of digs.
Junior outside hitter Morgan Odale totaled nine kills in the match to go with nine digs, barely missing her third double-double of the year.
Sophomore middle blocker Bailey Bateman had eight kills without a single attack error and posted a .667 hitting percentage to go with three blocks and a career-high three digs.
Junior middle blocker Erin Redd took match-high honors with six blocks and also added six kills.
In the back row of the Utah defense, junior libero Nikki Sim posted her seventh double-figure-dig match of the year with a match-high 13.
The Utes grabbed three of the first four points of the opening set and led the entire way in the opener. Utah went on to lead by as many as 12 (23-11) en route to a 25-13 first-set victory. Utah earned a .407 to -.040 advantage in hitting and a 4.0 to 1.0 edge in blocks over Cal Poly. Morgan Odale had four kills, while Redd posted a match-high four blocks. The Utes are 6-2 this season when taking the first set from their opponents.
The second set was a closer affair as there were 12 ties with the Mustangs assumed their first lead of the match by a 5-4 margin in the first set, but the set was tied five times, the last time coming at 6-6, before Cal Poly took three of the next four points to inch out to a 10-7 advantage. Down 12-9, the Utes scored eight of the next 10 points to grab a 17-14 edge. The set would be tied four more times (at 17, 19, 21, 22, 23), but the Utes were able to erase a 21-19 deficit and earn a 25-23 win to go up 2-0. Bateman and Redd turned in four kills apiece in the second set alone, while Bateman and Dalton led the Ute defense with two blocks apiece.
In the third set, Utah once again edged out to a 3-1 lead and stretched their advantage out to eight points (16-8) via an 8-1 run. The Utes would maintain their eight-point advantage until the 20-12 point en route to a 25-21 win to clinch the match.
Cal Poly (1-8) was led by eight kills from Holly Franks, while Steffi Sooter turned in a team-high 11 digs.
“We just have to keep getting better as a team,” Launiere said. “I was just happy with the things we did today, and we’re making improvements.”
The Utes take on Nevada at 7 p.m., this evening in its final match of the Utah Classic.