SALT LAKE CITY – Sophomore outside hitter Chelsey Schofield registered a match-high 15 kills to highlight a solid all-around performance for the University of Utah volleyball team as it defeated Arizona State (25-15, 25-16, 25-22) on Sunday at Crimson Court for its second Pac-12 Conference victory in its last three matches.
“It was [our best performance of the season],” Utah head coach Beth Launiere said. “I felt like that if we got into the flow, we were ready to start taking off. We finally did that today and everything was clicking.”
Utah (11-10, 2-6 Pac-12) hit for a staggering .435 hitting percentage, while holding Arizona State to .182 clip on the attack. The Utes also maintained a 12.0 to 2.0 edge in team blocks and a 39-31 advantage in digs.
“Everyone came to play,” Launiere said. “Friday night was a tough loss [a five-set defeat to Arizona]. The team responded and got themselves ready and we were ready for a break-out performance. In every facet of the game we were really good.
“[We received impressive individual performances from] absolutely everybody. Our setters had a great match. Our outsides, [Schofield] and Morgan [Odale], were hot. Shelby [Dalton] got hot for a while, and Bailey [Bateman] had 10 blocks. Erin [Redd] had some great kills and Alli [Spurrier] had five blocks. Every single person did their job this afternoon.”
Schofield turned in her 14th double-digit-kill performance of the season and the 31st of her career after going for 15 kills on 28 swings with four miscues for a .393 hitting percentage. She connected on four of her first five attack attempts for an .800 hitting percentage to start the match. The Provo, Utah, native also had six digs to help the Ute defense.
Junior outside hitter Morgan Odale contributed nine kills without a single attack error on 19 attempts for a .474 hitting clip to go along with seven digs.
Bateman went for a match-high 10 blocks to lead the Utah defense at the net. The Hooper, Utah, native registered her second double-digit-block match of the season after going for 12 blocks against Bowling Green on Sept. 8.
“We really focused on our jobs and knew what we had to do,” Bateman said. “We really focused on what we had to do to win and then made big plays to get out of the flows and ebbs that we had. We responded really well to everything.”
Sophomore right-side hitter Shelby Dalton totaled a .727 hitting percentage with eight kills on 11 swings without a single attack error. Dalton also came up with five blocks to help the Ute defense.
Utah’s setting duo of Kendall Cygan and McKenzie Odale combined for 38 assists and nine digs. Cygan handed out 20 assists and three digs, while Odale had 18 assists and six digs.
Junior middle blocker Erin Redd added seven kills and a pair of blocks and Spurrier added five blocks, while libero Nikki Sim posted a match-high nine digs in Utah’s back row.
There were seven ties early in the first set of the match, the last coming at 7-7, before the Utes took eight straight points to grab a commanding 15-7 lead. Utah led by as many as 12 (21-9) en route to a 25-15 first-set victory. The Utes hit .560 compared to just a .188 mark for the Sun Devils, while Utah outhit ASU 6.0 to 1.0. Bateman had six blocks in the opener, and Schofield totaled seven kills on 10 swings with just one error for a .600 hitting percentage. The Utes improved to 10-3 this season when earning a first-set victory.
“We just blocked a ton,” Launiere said. “We had a run of six straight blocks and when you do that, you get your opponent a little off balance and things flowed from there. Part of it too was that we played good defense behind the block. That is the best defensive match we have played. It was a great team effort. Every single player tonight was ready to go.”
The second set was tied three times, the last time coming at four points apiece, before a 5-0 spurt by Utah gave the home team a 9-4 advantage. The Sun Devils responded with three straight scores of their own, but the Utes maintained their five-point lead (16-11) and their lead would grow to as many as nine (22-12). The Utes went on to pick up the second-set win over Arizona State by a 25-16 margin as Schofield had five kills and the Utes hit .414 in the frame, while Arizona State posted a .125 clip. The Utes are now 8-0 when winning the first two sets of a match in 2012.
ASU took three of the first four points in the third frame, but Utah quickly came back to even things at three points apiece. There would be five more ties, the last one coming at eight points apiece, but Utah would eventually edge out to a 12-9 advantage. The Utes led by as many as four (17-13), but ASU re-tied the set for the eighth time at 21 points apiece. Utah took the next two points to climb to a 23-21 edge on the way to a 25-22 victory to clinch the match. Morgan Odale and Dalton had four kills apiece in the finale as Utah outhit ASU in the third set, .355 to .217, and also claimed a 4.0 to 1.0 margin in team blocks.
Arizona State (13-8, 2-6 Pac-12) received 14 kills from Eric Wilson, while Macey Gardner was credited with 12 kills and a team-high eight digs.
The Utes head to Los Angeles next week for a pair of road matches at No. 7 UCLA on Wednesday at 7 p.m., and at No.6 USC on Friday at 6 p.m. PT. Both matches will be televised live on Pac-12 Network with Anne Marie Anderson (PBP) and Holly McPeak (Analyst) calling the action.