USAF ACADEMY, Colo. - Behind 10 kills and a .833 attack percentage from sophomore Lauren Stringham, the Utah Valley University volleyball team opened play at the Air Force Invitational by sweeping UC Riverside (25-23, 25-17, 25-23) on Friday afternoon.
The Wolverines will now prepare for an 8 p.m. tilt against Wyoming on Friday. UVU and the Cowgirls are a perfect 1-0 so far at the tournament.
Stringham went an impressive 10-for-12 in attacks as well as added two blocks for UVU (4-8) in the contest. Junior Kalani Norris followed with seven kills while freshman Macky Treanor added six kills, eight digs and a season-high five aces. Senior Brookelyn Hall too played well as she finished with a match-high 29 assists and five kills.
Three straight service aces from Treanor and a kill from Stringham helped Utah Valley break a 12-all tie in the opening set and take a 16-12 advantage. The Highlanders (1-10) threatened late as they pulled to within one on a number of occasions, but UVU pulled out the set via a pair of costly UCR errors.
The Wolverines jumped out to a 7-0 advantage in set number two thanks in part by two more aces from Treanor. UVU cruised from there in the set and maintained its lead the rest of the way as it took the frame by eight points. Stringham led the Wolverines in the set with six kills, and as a team UVU outhit the Highlanders .333 - .080.
Momentum stayed in Utah Valley's favor in the third set as it quickly doubled up the Highlanders on the scoreboard. The Wolverines took their largest advantage of the set at 14-7 after a kill from junior Jaramey Barney, but back came UCR as it later pulled to within one at 18-17.
Following a kill from Norris, UC Riverside scored the next four points to take its first lead in the third set at 22-20. Utah Valley immediately countered back by scoring five of the final six points to take the match in straight sets. Stringham led the late Wolverine rally as she pounded home two kills and a block assist during the stretch.
Bri Holmes led the UCR in the contest by posting a double-double with match-highs of 11 of kills and 10 digs.
With the victory, UVU improves to a perfect 3-0 all-time against the Highlanders.
The Wolverines will conclude the Air Force Invitational by taking on the host Falcons at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Following this weekend's tournament, UVU will travel to Moscow, Idaho, to begin its inaugural season of play in the Western Athletic Conference next Thursday at the University of Idaho.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.