It was a good win because we had to earn it. —Utah head coach Beth Launiere
SALT LAKE CITY – Led by a 20-kill, eight-dig performance by Chelsey Schofield, the University of Utah volleyball team defeated Washington State, 3-1 (26-24, 27-29, 20-25, 27-25) for its first Pac-12 Conference victory of the season during its annual Power of Pink match on Saturday at Crimson Court.
Utah (10-9, 1-5 Pac-12) had three players with 10 or more kills, while two Utes turned in double-doubles against Washington State. The Utes were able to outblock the Cougars, 14.5 to 6.0, and built a .344 to .242 advantage in team hitting percentage.
With the win, the Utes improved to 3-1 in five-set affairs this season
“It was a good win because we had to earn it,” Utah head coach Beth Launiere said. “We had to work very hard for this win. Washington State came to play. They came with a lot of energy and were fired up. We had to play well to win this match. It was a very good offensive match and neither team was making very many stops. It was exciting, but we knew coming out of set two that whoever was going to start making some defensive stops was going to win this match. We stepped up our defense in set three and that was the difference.”
Schofield, a sophomore outside hitter from Provo, Utah, turned in 20 kills with seven errors on 41 attempts for a .317 hitting percentage. It was her 12th match with double-digits in kills this season, and she has reached the feat 29 times over her career. She also pitched in eight digs and three blocks.
“Morgan had 18 kills and Erin came up with 10 so it was just a great team effort,” Schofield said. “We’re all really close together and it was a good job by everybody. It is always nice when we get those kills and together as a team it’s even better.”
Morgan Odale hit double-digits in kills with an 18-kill, 10-dig performance, her third double-double of the year and the 18th of her career. It was her first since going for 18 kills and 13 digs against Bowling Green on Sept. 8.
Junior middle blocker Erin Redd had 10 kills with a .364 hitting percentage to go with five blocks. She has hit for 10 or more kills eight times in 2012 and 35 times over her career.
Freshman setter Kendall Cygan registered her second career double-double with 32 assists and 11 digs, which was her first such performance since a 48-assist, 11-dig effort against Bowling Green on Sept. 8.
Setter McKenzie Odale distributed 26 assists to go along with nine digs.
Sophomore Bailey Bateman posted a match-high seven blocks to go with eight kills, while Shelby Dalton chipped in six kills and six blocks. Alli Spurrier contributed five kills on five attempts for a perfect 1.000 hitting percentage.
The Utes took three of the first four points of the first set, but the Cougars came back to tie the set for the second time at 5-5. The frame would be tied two more times (6, 9) before Utah jumped out to a 14-9 edge with five-straight scores. The Utes would go on to lead by as many as six (17-11) before WSU cut the deficit to two (19-17). Utah was able to work its lead back to four (22-18), but WSU came back to tie the frame at 24-24 but the Utes held on for a 26-24 first-set victory. Schofield had seven kills on 12 attempts with just one error for a .500 hitting percentage, while the Ute block held a 5.0-0.0 advantage over the Cougars. Both teams were efficient on the attack as Utah held a .371-.303 edge over WSU for the set. The Utes are now 9-3 this season when winning the first frame.
There were a pair of ties at the start of the second set before the Cougars inched out to a 6-3 lead. The Utes came back quickly with three straight to tie the set for the third time at 6-6. The score would be tied three more times (9-9) as Utah inched out to a 13-10 lead via a 4-1 run. The set would be tied six more times at 19, 22, 24, 25, 26, and 27 before WSU was able to earn the final two points for a 29-27 win to even the match. Schofield added kills in the second frame and Morgan Odale contributed five. The Utes maintained a 3.5 to 1.0 edge in team blocks over the Cougars.
Once again, Utah got off to a quick 5-1 lead at the beginning of the third set and maintained its four-point edge until the 8-4 point. The Cougars came back to the score for the second time at nine points apiece. Utah climbed to a 14-9 lead with five-straight scores and would lead by as many as six (16-10). WSU cut its deficit to two points (17-15) with a 5-1 stretch, but Utah pushed its lead back to six points after putting together a 4-0 run and closed strong en route to a 25-20 third-set win. Morgan Odale paced five kills, while Schofield had four and the Utes totaled a .353 hitting percentage, compared to just a .103 mark for WSU. Utah also owned a 4.0 to 2.0 edge in team blocks.
WSU grabbed a 4-2 edge during the outset of the fourth frame, but Utah quickly pieced together a 5-3 stretch to tie the set for the second time at 7-7. There would be three more ties (8, 10 and 11), but the Cougars would go on a 6-1 run to grab a 17-12 lead. WSU would lead by as many as seven, 23-16, before going on 8-1 tear to tie the set at 24 points apiece. The set would be even at 25 before consecutive Redd kills gave the Utes a 27-25 match-clinching victory. Redd and Morgan Odale pitched in five kills each, while Utah posted a .289 hitting percentage as a team, compared to a .222 mark for WSU.
Washington State (10-8, 0-6 Pac-12) was led by 20 kills and 10 digs by Jaicee Harris.
The Utes close their four-match homestand next weekend with a pair of Pac-12 matches against Arizona on Friday at 7 p.m. and Arizona State on Sunday at 3 p.m. Both matches will be televised live on Pac-12 Network (Regional).