UVU volleyball: Wolverines host NJIT Saturday

By James Warnick

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Oct. 11 2012 4:49 p.m. MDT

OREM, Utah – The Utah Valley University volleyball team will play just its second home contest of the season and its first since Sept. 4 on Saturday at 1 p.m. when Great West Conference foe NJIT comes to town.

The Wolverines (10-7, 2-0 GWC) have won their last three matches and also have a 13-match home win streak as they have not lost at the PE Building since Sept. 3, 2011. Saturday will begin a five-match homestand for the first-place Wolverines.

After beginning the conference season 2-0 with road victories at Texas-Pan American and Houston Baptist last week, the Wolverines continued their winning ways by coming from behind to defeat in-state rival Utah State Tuesday in Logan. In that match, UVU fell behind 0-2 after dropping the first two sets but rallied to win the final three to take the contest 3-2 (17-25, 19-25, 27-25, 26-24, 15-12).

Five players finished in double figures in kills for the Wolverines against the Aggies. Sophomore Kalani Norris led the way with 15, while senior Erica Nish and freshman Bailey Farris each recorded 13. Freshman Lauren Stringham added 12 and junior Katie Fritzler had 11. Stringham also did not commit an attack error as she hit an impressive .632 and led the Wolverines at the net with seven block assists. Junior Brookelyn Hall had a big match by recording a career-high 65 assists and six block assists.

For the season Stringham leads the Wolverines in kills with 112 and a .296 hitting percentage. Nish is right behind her with 108 and averages 2.12 kills per set. Stringham also leads the squad in blocks with 83 (nine solos and 74 block assists) and a 1.32 block per set average.

About NJIT: NJIT is 8-11 overall this season and off to a 1-2 start in conference play. The Highlanders have won two in a row after defeating Saint Peter's in non-conference action on Oct. 2, and they picked up their first conference victory last Saturday with a sweep of Chicago State. NJIT went 3-7 in GWC play a year ago for fourth place and was projected to take third this year in the conference's preseason poll.

The Highlanders are led offensively by Janet Snell with her 206 kills and her 2.78 kill per set average. Valerie Carroll leads NJIT at the net with 53 blocks and a 0.71 average and Renata Pandolfo is ranked ninth nationally in digs with 423 (5.64 dig/set average).

Saturday's matchup between the Wolverines and Highlanders will be the 10th all-time meeting. UVU leads the series 8-1 and has won the last six straight meetings including three last season.

Up Next for the Wolverines: UVU will stay home and welcome Chicago State and CSU Bakersfield to town next weekend. The Wolverines will take on the CSU Cougars Friday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. and future WAC-foe CSUB Saturday, Oct. 20 at 6 p.m.

James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.

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