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UVU volleyball: Wolverines head to Tucson for Arizona Desert Classic

By James Warnick

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Sept. 5 2013 5:25 p.m. MDT

Junior libero McKenna Tait (center) and her Wolverine teammates celebrate after scoring a point against No. 25 BYU at the PE Building in Orem on Tuesday, Sept. 3.

Linsey Craig, UVU Athletics

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OREM — The Utah Valley University women's volleyball team will venture out on the road for the first time in 2013 to take part in the Arizona Desert Classic in Tucson, Ariz., this weekend. The Wolverines will take on Eastern Kentucky of the Ohio Valley Conference on Friday at 5:30 p.m. MT, Butler of the Big East on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. MT and host Arizona of the Pac-12 on Saturday at 8 p.m. MT.

Live video and live stats for all matches will be available by visiting Arizona's website.

The Wolverines (1-3) look to get back on track this weekend after dropping their last two matches to ranked opponents. After picking up its first win of the season in straight sets over North Dakota State last Saturday, UVU fell to No. 24 Wichita State, 3-0, later that day and then to No. 25 BYU on Tuesday, 3-1.

In their most recent contest on Tuesday against the in-state rival Cougars, the Wolverines took the opening set and were right there in the second set before BYU took command to defeat UVU (24-26, 25-22, 25-8, 25-11). Junior outside hitter Kalani Norris led Utah Valley in the contest with 19 kills and nine digs.

Earlier in the week, freshman outside hitter Macky Treanor was named UVU's first-ever WAC Player of the Week after she tallied 46 kills, 27 digs and three service aces over three matches en route to earning all-tournament team honors at the La Quinta Inn and Suites Invitational last week. Treanor posted WAC-bests of 5.11 kills per set and a .447 hitting percentage in her first weekend of collegiate volleyball. She also set a program single-match three-set record with 20 kills in the sweep of NDSU.

Treanor leads UVU on the season with 54 kills, a 4.15 kill per set average and a .346 attack percentage. Norris is next in kills with 48, while senior middle blocker Katie Fritzler leads the Wolverines at the net with 13 blocks. Senior setter Brookelyn Hall is tops on the squad in assists with 125 (9.62 assist/set average), while junior libero McKenna Tait leads the team in digs with 53 (4.08 dig/set average).

About Eastern Kentucky

The Colonels are currently tops in the Ohio Valley Conference with an unblemished 4-0 record in 2013. Eastern Kentucky has defeated Kennesaw State, Radford, North Carolina A&T and Marshall so far this season. A year ago, EKU finished fifth in the Eastern Division of the OVC with a 5-11 conference record and went 9-19 overall.

Ashley Edmond leads the Colonels this year with 65 kills and a 3.82 kill per set average. Alexis Plagens is next in kills with 57, while Rachel Vick and Tori Anderson lead the way in blocks with 14 and 13, respectively.

Friday's meeting between the Wolverines and EKU will be the first in history between the two schools and just UVU's second all-time contest against a team from the OVC.

About Butler

The Bulldogs are also a perfect 4-0 so far in 2013 with wins over Cincinnati, Tennessee, Morehead State and IUPUI. Butler went 17-12 a season ago and took sixth in its final season of play in the Atlantic 10 Conference with a 7-7 conference record. A couple of weeks ago, the Bulldogs were tabbed to finish sixth in their first season of play Big East.

Belle Obert leads Butler in kills this season with 52 and a 3.47 kill per set average. Preseason All-Big East selection Erica Stahl is tops on the squad in blocks with 27, while Morgan Peterson leads the team in assists with 150 (10.00 assist/set average).

Saturday's contest between the Wolverines and Bulldogs will be the second in history. Utah Valley leads the all-time series 1-0 after it swept Butler in Indianapolis in 2007.

About Arizona

The Wildcats are 2-1 on the year after defeating Central Arkansas and Morgan State before falling to No. 20 Kansas in the finale of the Arizona Invitational in Tucson last weekend. UA was picked to finish eighth in the Pac-12 this season after it went 16-15 overall last year and placed eighth in conference play with an 8-12 record.

Madi Kingdon and Jane Croson lead Arizona offensively with 81 combined kills. Kingdon has tallied 41 kills so far while Croson has 40. At the net, Kingdon, Olivia Magill and Halli Amaro are tied atop the block column with eight apiece, and Penina Snucka leads the team in assists with 119 (10.82 assist/set average).

Saturday's meeting against Arizona will mark UVU's second straight week against an opponent from the Pac-12 Conference as the Wolverines fell to Arizona State in their season opener last week. Utah Valley will not only be looking for its first win of the year against the Pac-12 but also its first all-time win over the Wildcats as UA leads the all-time series 1-0. The lone previous meeting between the two schools came last August at Arizona's Wildcat Classic.

Up next for the Wolverines

Utah Valley will return home to host its second tournament of the season next weekend, Sept. 13-14. The Wolverine Classic will consist of UVU, Idaho State, UC Irvine and Utah.

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