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UVU volleyball: Wolverines head to Colorado for Air Force Invite

By James Warnick

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Sept. 19 2013 5:52 p.m. MDT

OREM — Fresh off a win at Weber State on Tuesday, the Utah Valley University volleyball team looks to continue its winning ways this weekend at the Air Force Invitational in Colorado Springs, Colo. The tournament will mark UVU's final tune-up before beginning its inaugural season of play in the Western Athletic Conference next week.

The Wolverines will open the invite with a match against UC Riverside of the Big West Conference at 3 p.m. on Friday. UVU will then face a pair of Mountain West Conference foes in its final two contests of the invite as it will take on Wyoming on Friday at 8 p.m. and the host Falcons on Saturday at 6 p.m.

Live stats will be available for all matches of the tournament while live video will also be available on Air Force's athletic website for Saturday's finale against Air Force.

"We're excited to go on the road and we need to play well," head coach Sam Atoa said. "It's important for us to play some good competition away from home and we're hoping that the momentum we gained at Weber State will carry over to the tournament this weekend. We know what we are capable of and we hope to play well at Air Force, especially as we prepare for conference play the following week."

UVU enters the tournament with a 3-8 overall record after snapping a five-match losing skid on Tuesday at Weber State. The Wolverines controlled the in-state contest versus WSU as they not only swept the Wildcats (25-17, 25-17, 25-19) but also outhit them .358 - .156.

Junior Kalani Norris and freshman Macky Treanor led the Wolverines against Weber State as the outside hitters both hit over .400 in the contest and recorded 15 and 12 respective kills. Senior setter Brookelyn Hall also put up a match-high 36 assists while junior libero McKenna Tait added 10 digs.

Treanor leads the Wolverines offensively with a 3.72 kill per set average and a .287 attack percentage. Her kill average is good enough for second in the WAC while her hitting percentage is eighth. Hall is tops on the club in assists with an average of 9.49 assists per set while Tait leads the squad in digs (3.64). Sophomore Lauren Stringham and senior Katie Fritzler are UVU's one-two punch at the net as they average 0.92 and 0.79 blocks per set, respectively.

All-time the Wolverines are a combined 5-2 versus this weekend's opponents.

About UC Riverside

The Highlanders enter the tournament with a 1-8 record on the season after they snapped an eight-match losing streak with a 3-1 win over Winthrop last Saturday. UCR was picked to finish last in the Big West's Preseason Poll and is currently in the midst of a 13-match stretch away from home.

Ashley Cox leads UC Riverside with a 3.23 kill per set average while Nae Bender leads Highlanders in assists (6.64). Tyler Dorsey is tops in blocks with a 0.50 block per set average.

The Wolverines enter Friday afternoon with a perfect 2-0 all-time mark against UCR.

About Wyoming

The Cowgirls are 7-4 on the season and began Mountain West play on Wednesday with a 3-0 loss at No. 22 Colorado State. After winning its first six matches of the 2013 season, Wyoming has since dropped four of its last five.

Mikaela Ryshytylo and Erin Kirby and their respective 2.88 and 2.67 kill per set averages lead Wyoming offensively. The middle blocker Kirby also not only leads the Cowgirls in blocks but the entire nation with a 1.98 block per set average. UW as a team also leads the nation in blocking at 3.22 blocks per set.

The all-time series between the Wolverines and Cowgirls is even at 1-1.

About Air Force

The Falcons are currently 2-8 on the season but will host New Mexico in their Mountain West opener Thursday night. AFA has recorded victories over Long Beach State Navy so far this year.

Akokwe Clement and her 2.57 kill per set average leads Air Force offensively while Raquel Rosas' 0.74 block per set average leads the Falcons at the net.

UVU holds a 2-1 all-time series advantage over AFA. The Wolverines are also a perfect 1-0 against the Falcons at Cadet East Gym.

Up next for the Wolverines

Utah Valley volleyball will usher in its WAC era on the road next week. The Wolverines first head to Moscow, Idaho, to face the Idaho Vandals for the first-time in program history on Thursday, Sept. 26, and then on to Seattle, Wash., to take on Seattle U on Saturday, Sept. 28.

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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