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Utah volleyball: Utes return to Beehive State for Wolverine Classic

By Mike DeVine

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 10 2013 2:46 p.m. MDT

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.

Historic start

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.

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