UVU volleyball: Utah Valley has winning streak snapped Thursday at Bakersfield

By James Warnick

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Oct. 10 2013 11:41 p.m. MDT

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Utah Valley had its three-match Western Athletic Conference winning streak snapped by fellow league newcomer Bakersfield on Thursday night as it fell in straight sets to the Roadrunners (10-9, 3-3 WAC) at the Icardo Center (21-25, 18-25, 17-25). The Wolverines (10-10, 4-2 WAC) entered the contest having won eight of their last nine matches, which included a 6-1 record on the road during the stretch.

"Bakersfield did everything right. They executed well and brought a lot of energy into the match so you've got to give them the credit," head coach Sam Atoa said. "We talked about a number of things before the match that we needed to do to be successful but we just weren't able to accomplish them for one reason or another. It just wasn't our night."

Despite suffering the defeat, junior Kalani Norris led UVU in kills for the third straight match with 11. Norris also finished just one dig shy of her third double-double season with nine. Sophomore Lauren Stringham and freshman Nakisha Willden were next in kills for the Wolverines as they added eight and seven, respectively.

In the opener, the Roadrunners reeled off four consecutive points midway through the frame to take a 15-10 advantage. Willden and Stringham each later drove home a pair of kills to help the Wolverines battle back and tie the score at 20-all. Bakersfield answered, however, by scoring five of the next six points to take the first set by four.

The `Runners maintained the upper hand in the second set as they jumped out to a 14-7 lead following a UVU ball handling error. Utah Valley countered by scoring six of the next eight points to pull within three at 16-13. Willden led the Wolverines during the spurt by recording two kills.

UVU later trailed by just four points down the stretch of the second set at 22-18, but CSUB put the frame away by scoring the final three points on kills from Debora Araujo and Shayna Guitare and a block assist from Fernanda Goncalves and Molly O'Hagan.

Bakersfield doubled up the Wolverines early in the third set as it jumped out to a 10-5 advantage. Kills from senior Katie Fritzler and Norris followed by a couple of `Runner errors helped the Wolverines pull to within two at 11-9, but that was as close as UVU would get the rest of the way as CSUB took the final set by eight points.

Senior Brookelyn Hall and junior McKenna Tait also had notable performances for the Wolverines as they led the way in assists and digs, respectively, with 25 and 13.

Three players topped double figures in kills for the `Runners in the contest, and Kelsee Sawyer led the way with 11. Goncalves also had a nice match for CSUB, as she recorded a match-high 36 assists, 14 digs and six blocks.

Despite the loss, the Wolverines still lead the all-time series, 7-3, over the Roadrunners.

UVU now finds itself in third place in the WAC standings at 4-2. The Wolverines sit just half a game behind second-place Kansas City (4-1) and 1 1/2 behind first-place New Mexico State (5-0).

The Wolverines now look to bounce back at fellow WAC newcomer Grand Canyon on Saturday at 8 p.m. MDT in Phoenix. The contest will mark the first-ever meeting between the Wolverines and Antelopes.

James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.