Off to one of the best starts in school history, the University of Utah volleyball team heads to Orem to continue its non-conference slate on Friday and Saturday at the Utah Valley Activity Center for the Wolverine Classic.
Utah opens the weekend at 4:30 p.m. MT against UC Irvine. Saturday’s doubleheader begins against Idaho State at 10 a.m. MT, before facing host Utah Valley at 7 p.m. MT.
The Utes are one of six unbeaten teams remaining in the Pac-12 Conference.
Wolverine Classic coverage:
A live stream of each match from the Wolverine Classic will be available on UVU's website.Live stat links for each match can also be found there.
Utah volleyball social networks
Receive inside information from the Utes, as well as set-by-set updates during matches, on Facebook. Fans can also stay connected by following @UtahVolleyball on Instagram and Twitter. The Utah volleyball YouTube page also offers fans a selection of unique video content highlighting the Utes.
After a 4-0 outing last weekend at the North Texas Invitational, Utah is now 7-0, which is tied for the best start to a season in school history. The best start in Utah history currently belongs to the 2000 team that started 8-0, while the 1992 squad won seven straight matches.
The Utes captured their second tournament title in as many weeks after winning four consecutive matches at the North Texas Invitational last weekend in Denton, Texas.
In the first match of the tournament, Utah held a 10-2 advantage in service aces during a 3-1 (25-17, 20-25, 25-14, 25-21) win over Texas State to go with a .269-.179 edge in hitting efficiency.
Four Utes posted 10 or more kills Friday night against the host Mean Green as Utah outhit NTU, .273 to .134.
Junior right-side hitter Alli Spurrier (Salt Lake City, Utah) went for a pair of season highs on the attack with nine kills and a .456 hitting percentage, as Utah swept Prairie View A&M, 3-0 (25-14, 25-16, 25-13), in the first match Saturday.
Utah hit .449 in the day’s opening match, while holding Prairie View A&M to a -.014 hitting percentage. The Utes also earned a 6.0 to 2.0 edge in team blocks and a 7-2 advantage in service aces in their first 3-0 victory of the season.
Spurrier posted a season-high nine kills and a .456 hitting percentage. In her first start of the season and the fifth of her career, her nine kills came on 15 swings with two errors.
Thanks to a .414-.128 advantage in team hitting, as well as a 10.0-1.0 edge in blocking, Utah clinched the North Texas Invitational title with a 3-0 (25-15, 25-22, 25-15) win over Northwestern State on Saturday afternoon.
On the block
Utah leads the Pac-12 in blocking early this season with 2.76 blocks per set. Junior middle blocker Bailey Bateman (Hooper, Utah) leads the Pac-12 individual stats with 1.52 blocks per set.
Return of the Mak
After using her redshirt season in 2012, junior outside hitter Makenzie Moea’i (American Fork, Utah) led Utah at the North Texas Invitational with 2.93 kills per set and also posted a .375 hitting percentage to go with 1.29 digs, 0.57 blocks and 0.21 aces per set.
Moea’i posted her second double-figure-kill performance of the season with 10 kills on 15 swings and just one miscue for a .600 hitting percentage on 15 swings to give her the first double-double of her Ute career Saturday in the weekend finale during Utah’s win over Northwestern State.
Moea’i led a group of four Utes who posted 10 or more kills with a season-high 14 kills on Friday during Utah’s win at North Texas. She had 14 kills on just 28 swings and three errors for a .393 hitting percentage against the host Mean Green.
Moea’i finished with eight kills in the tournament opener Friday against Texas State on a .316 hitting efficiency with only a pair of errors on 19 attempts for her eight kills.
In Saturday’s match against Prairie View A&M, Moea’i tied for match-high nine kills and only had two errors on 16 swings for a .438 efficiency to go with a match-high three blocks.
Moea’i is hitting .321 through the first seven matches of her first season at Utah with 2.37 kills per set. Defensively, Moea’i has turned up 0.89 digs and 0.56 blocks per set.
All-Tournament Team Utes
A trio of Utes were named to the North Texas Invitational All-Tournament Team: junior libero Lea Adolph (Waltrop, Germany), junior right-side hitter Shelby Dalton (Moab, Utah) and senior outside hitter Morgan Odale (Star, Idaho).
Leaning on Lea
Adolph has led the Ute back row early on the season and has earned the libero spot for the second consecutive tournament. She turned in a pair of team-high totals with 3.50 digs and 0.42 service aces per set.
In the weekend opener against Texas State, Adolph served a career-high five aces, and she also popped up 11 digs. Adolph secured 16 digs in the nightcap on Friday against North Texas and popped up 14 attack attempts in the tournament finale against Northwestern State on Saturday. Adolph leads the team with 3.96 digs and 0.18 service aces per set in 2013. She has 512 career digs for a 2.35 dig-per-set average in addition to 40 service aces.
Dalton drives the Ute attack
Dalton earned her second straight all-tournament team nod at the North Texas Invitational after going for a .437 hitting percentage in the four matches. She was second on the squad with 2.92 kills per set and ranked third on the Ute roster with 1.15 blocks per set.
Dalton was efficient of the attack in the first match of the weekend against Texas State on Friday with 12 kills and one error on a .611 hitting percentage in addition to three blocks, two digs and a career-high two service aces.
Against the homestanding Mean Green, Dalton pushed down 13 kills on a .300 hitting efficiency to go with seven digs and six blocks. She connected for five kills on 10 attempts for a .500 efficiency on Saturday against Prairie View A&M before going for eight kills to go with five blocks in the tournament finale against Northwestern State.
More from Morgan
Odale picked up all-tournament recognition at the North Texas Invite after turning in 2.57 kills, 2.14 digs and 0.29 aces per set.
With four aces during the NTU Invite, Odale became the 14th member of Utah’s 100-ace club. Odale has 101 career aces, which has her tied with three others for 10th place in school history.
Bailey for the block
Batemanwas the highlight of the Ute defense at the net with 1.44 blocks per set last weekend. On the attack, Bateman hit for a .292 efficiency with 1.22 kills per set. Bateman registered a season-high eight blocks Friday at North Texas to go with six kills. In the first match of the weekend, Bateman delivered four blocks and three kills against Texas State before turning in season highs of 10 kills and a .769 hitting percentage against Northwestern State, as well as seven blocks to spur the Ute defense against the Lady Demons.
Bateman leads the Pac-12 with 1.52 blocks per set through seven matches this season, and she is also hitting .317 on the attack for 1.61 kills per set.
Redd-Brandon climbs career blocks list
Senior middle blocker Erin Redd-Brandon (Spanish Fork, Utah) is the 10th member of Utah’s 400-block club and is now in sole possession of ninth place in school history with 422 career blocks (399 blocks assists and 23 block solos). She is 17 total blocks shy of tying Teresa McCabe (439 from 1991-94) for eighth place on the list. Redd-Brandon is already fifth in school history with 399 career blocks assists, which leaves her 50 away from catching McKelle Stilson (449 from 1998-2001) for fourth place on Utah’s all-time list. Redd-Brandonwas named the Pac-12 Conference Volleyball Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 2, the first Ute volleyball player to ever earn a weekly award from the Pac-12.
Sophomore setter Kendall Cygan (Orange, Calif.) is 10th in the Pac-12 with 5.96 assists per set this season, including a season-high 28 assists at North Texas. Junior setter Kalee Kirby (South Weber, Utah) is not far behind with 5.85 assists per set, which includes a season-high 35 in the season opener against Utah State.
Scouting the Wolverine Classic field
UC Irvine (5-1)
The all-time series between the schools is 4-1 in favor of the Anteaters. Utah head coach Beth Launiere is 1-1 against UC Irvine. UCI won its first five matches of this season but had its win streak stopped in a five-set contest at Cleveland State on Saturday. Sophomore outside Aly Squires paces the UCI attack with 3.56 kills per set and has also come up with a team-high 2.96 digs per set. Shannon Fleming (1.20) and Arielle Manz (1.16) have combined for 3.36 blocks per set so far in 2013.
Idaho State (4-3)
Utah has faced Idaho State 37 times in school history, but not since 2006. The Utes claim a 27-10 edge in the all-time series. The Bengals won two of their three matches at the New Mexico Invitational last weekend in Albuquerque, including a 3-0 win over Georgia Tech of the Atlantic Coast Conference and Pittsburgh of the Big East Conference. ISU hosts Montana Western in its home opener on Tuesday night.
Utah Valley (2-5)
The Utes hold an 8-1 advantage in the all-time series between the schools that began in 2003. Utah won the last two matches, both in Salt Lake City, but lost the last contest in Orem on Sept. 4, 2009. The Wolverines picked up wins over North Dakota State (Aug. 31) and Eastern Kentucky last Friday. Macky Treanor is averaging 3.83 kills per set on a .284 hitting percentage to go with 0.22 aces per set. Kalani Norris is hitting 3.14 kills per set. Brookelyn Hall is handing out 9.22 assists per set.
Utes on the Pac-12 Networks
Utah’s televised home conference matches will include the `Rumble in the Rockies’ match against Colorado (Sept. 24), USC (Sept. 29), Arizona State (Oct. 24), Arizona (Oct. 27), California (Nov. 7) and Stanford (Nov. 10). Seven of Utah’s road matches will also be on live TV, beginning Oct. 11 at Stanford. The Utes’ other televised road matches include California (Oct. 13), Oregon State (Oct. 18), Oregon (Oct. 20), Arizona (Nov. 14), Arizona State (Nov. 17) and the return match in the `Rumble in the Rockies’ series at Colorado (Nov. 27).
Pac-12 Preseason Coaches Poll
Utah was ranked ninth in the Pac-12 Preseason Coaches Poll, as released by the conference office. Utah has finished ninth in the Pac-12 each of the last two seasons after being selected 10th in each preseason poll. Stanford was voted the preseason favorite after receiving 10 first-place votes, followed by USC (two first-place votes), Washington, Oregon, UCLA, Arizona State, California and Arizona, while Colorado, Washington State and Oregon State followed Utah.