Utah volleyball: Utah picks up a 3-2 win over Washington State

By Mike DeVine

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, Oct. 4 2013 11:30 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY – Senior middle blocker Erin Redd-Brandon registered a season-high 16 kills on a .467 hitting percentage to go with four blocks as the University of Utah volleyball team edged Washington State (25-17, 25-14, 20-25, 24-26, 15-8) in a Pac-12 Conference match Friday in the Huntsman Center.

In the fifth set, Utah grabbed a critical 3-1 lead to start the frame and would extend out to a six-point lead at 13-7 on the way to a 15-8 advantage. In the finale, Utah limited WSU to a .000 hitting percentage, while junior right-side hitter Shelby Dalton and Redd-Brandon turned in two kills apiece.

Utah (13-2, 2-1 Pac-12) turned in a .253 hitting percentage over the match, compared to a .110 mark for Washington State. The Utes turned down a 13.5-10.0 edge in team blocks. They have outblocked their opponents 13 times this season and are 12-1 overall in that scenario.

“We played really well for the first two sets,” Utah head coach Beth Launiere said. “[Washington State] got some momentum. We knew they were a scrappy, feisty team and they just got some momentum. We stayed strong and were able to pull it out. We had a lot of balance, a lot of people come up for us and we made some good plays when it counted.”

The Utes are now 4-1 in five-set decisions in 2013, while Utah has now won five of the last seven matches against Washington State. The Utes improved to 8-0 this season when winning the first two sets and are now 2-0 in Pac-12 play.

The Ute defense posted a season-high 104 digs, which came up five shy of tying the school record of 109 against Santa Clara on Sept. 21, 1996. Junior libero Lea Adolph set a new career high with 24 digs, while right-side hitter Chelsey Schofield also established a new career high with 22 digs.

“We played really good defense, especially in set five when they couldn’t get a ball down,” Launiere said. “We’ve worked at it and I think we’re playing pretty good defense and it showed up in stats.”

Redd-Brandon turned in her season-high 16 kills on 30 swings for a pair of errors for a .467 hitting percentage to go with five blocks and four digs. This was Redd-Brandon’s sixth double-digit kill effort of the year. With five blocks in the contest, Redd-Brandon moved into fourth place in school history in career block assists and took sole possession of sixth place in school history in total blocks.

Senior outside hitter Morgan Odale recorded her fourth double-double of the season and the 25th of her career. She turned in 13 kills to go with a match-high 20 digs with two blocks. She is now ninth in school history with 993 career digs and is seven shy of joining Utah’s 1,000-dig club.

Junior right-side hitter Alli Spurrier turned in a career-high 12 kills in addition to four blocks. She has reached nine kills on three separate occasions, most recently against Prairie View A&M on Sept. 7, 2013.

Dalton pounded down 12 kills on a .346 hitting percentage along with four blocks and two digs. The Moab, Utah, native now has nine matches with 10 or more kills this season and 17 over her career.

Junior middle blocker Bailey Bateman paced the Ute blockers with a match-high eight blocks accompanied by a .391 hitting percentage for nine kills.

Junior setter Kalee Kirby tied her season high with 35 assists and added 11 digs for her third double-double performance. Her 11 digs was just one off her season-high mark where she had 12 against BYU on Sept. 17.

Sophomore setter Kendall Cygan set up 24 Ute kills as she also turned in a double-double after posting 10 digs. This was her fourth double-double of 2013 and the seventh of her career.

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