UVU volleyball: Wolverines rebound with 3-0 sweep on Senior Day
Shane Truskolaski, UVU Athletics
OREM, Utah - Two days removed from having its six-match winning streak snapped, senior Erica Nish led Utah Valley University to a 3-0 sweep over Texas-Pan American on Senior Day (25-20, 25-20, 25-15). With the victory, the Wolverines (14-8, 5-1 GWC) are now tied atop the Great West Conference standings with Houston Baptist.
Nish finished with a match-high 10 kills and also chipped in four block assists. Sophomore Kalani Norris finished right behind her with nine kills and hit an even .500 for the contest, while junior Lindsay Morrell tallied eight kills and freshman Lauren Stringham recorded eight blocks.
"This victory was important for us. We didn't play our best the other night against Houston Baptist but we came out and responded today," UVU head coach Sam Atoa said. "We executed very well on our serving and did better at siding out and controlling the net. When you do those things you'll put yourself in a good position."
UVU broke a 10-all tie in the first frame with a 5-0 run to take a 15-10 lead. Norris had a service ace during the spurt, while Nish and Morrell each added kills.
The Broncs (9-15, 2-3 GWC) then pulled within three in the opening set, but the Wolverines answered with another 5-0 spurt to take a 20-12 advantage. UTPA once again got within striking distance at 22-19, but a kill from Norris and an ace from sophomore McKenna Tait helped UVU put it away 25-20. Nish led the Wolverines in the opening frame with four kills.
Utah Valley's momentum carried over into the early stages of the second set as it opened up a quick 10-4 lead. Nish once again carried the load with three kills during the spurt.
The Broncs struck right back, however, with four unanswered points to pull within two at 10-8.
The second set stayed close from there and UTPA managed to get within one a couple of times. With the Wolverines up just 21-20, junior Brookelyn Hall snuck home a kill, Stringham followed it with a solo stuff, Norris drilled home a kill and the Broncs committed an attack error as UVU once again took the set by five. Nish and Norris paced the Wolverine attack in the set with four kills apiece.
UVU looked strong early in the third set as it jumped out to a 9-2 lead. UTPA later worked its way back into the set as it closed the gap to three at 15-12.
With the Wolverines still up by three, at 17-14, Hall sparked a UVU rally with a kill. The Wolverines would score eight of the next nine points during the spurt to take the third set 25-15.
Nish is the lone senior on UVU's roster in 2012 and was honored prior to the match.
"Erica has been huge for us," Atoa said. "Right from day from day one she came in and was a huge contributor to this program and continues to be. I'm happy for her that we ended on a good note on Senior Day."
UTPA was led in the contest by Diara Reynolds and her nine kills.
The Wolverines will enjoy a week off before concluding their conference season on the road. UVU will face NJIT on Nov. 8 and Chicago State on Nov. 10. Utah Valley will then return to Orem to host the GWC Tournament on Nov. 16-17.
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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