BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Senior Erica Nish led the way for Utah Valley University Friday afternoon as the Wolverines (7-5) swept Maryland-Eastern Shore (25-19, 25-22, 25-21) in their opener of the Roadrunner Classic in Bakersfield, Calif.
Nish recorded a team-high nine kills, a .571 attack percentage, two aces and two blocks. UVU junior Brookelyn Hall and freshman Lauren Stringham finished right behind her with seven kills apiece. Hall also added three blocks and a match-high 29 assists, while Stringham recorded three blocks of her own. Bakersfield-native and UVU sophomore Erin Jolley led the Wolverine back row in the match with eight digs.
"We played pretty well but I wish that we had a better flow to the game," Wolverine coach Sam Atoa said. "Everybody had an opportunity to be able to get in and contribute but we're still working on a few things. We executed better in some areas and we're hoping to just keep improving."
Leading 14-11 midway through the opening set, the Wolverines went on a 5-0 run to take a commanding 19-11 advantage. Hall, freshman Bailey Farris and junior Lindsay Morrell all drilled home kills during the rally. The Hawks (14-3) cut the eight-point deficit in half (22-18), but a couple of points later UVU put the first set away on a kill from Nish.
The second set seesawed back-and-forth in the early stages, but the Wolverines took a three-point lead (14-11) after consecutive kills from Morrell and Stringham. UVU later extended its lead to 21-15 after an ace from Nish. With Utah Valley later leading 24-19, UMES scored three straight points to make it a 24-22 score but Hall helped the Wolverines take a 2-0 lead with a kill on the next point.
With UVU up just a point (6-5) in the early stages of the third set, the Wolverines managed to double-up the Hawks, at 10-5, after two kills from Stringham and an ace from Farris. The Wolverines later extended their lead to eight (20-12) in the third set after consecutive kills from sophomore Jaramey Barney and Farris. The Hawks once again tried to recover as they pulled within three, at 22-19, but sophomore McKenna Tait helped UVU complete the sweep with the final kill over the 2011 Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference champs and NCAA Tournament qualifiers.
The Wolverines outhit UMES .284-.152 for the match. UVU also committed five less attack errors and had five more service aces than the Hawks.Comment on this story
Despite the loss, Victoria Williams led UMES with a match-high 12 kills.
The Wolverines will conclude the tournament Saturday by taking on host CSU Bakersfield at 8 p.m. MT. UVU holds a 6-1 all-time record against the Roadrunners.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com