OREM — Kalani Norris posted 13 kills and Brookelyn Hall added 33 assists as Utah Valley University came away with its second sweep in three nights, topping Southern Utah, 3-0 (25-16, 25-14, 25-17), at the PE Building.
Norris' 13-kill performance came in a nearly flawless effort. The junior went without an attack error on the night and connected on 13 of her 18 attempts for a .722 attack percentage — a new career high. Meanwhile, Hall came within inches of history as her 33 assists left her just three shy of the all-time UVU assist record for a career.
Lauren Stringham nearly eclipsed double-digits in kills, recording nine to go along with four blocks. Cassie Wahlin chipped in eight kills and Katie Fritzler added six. Libero McKenna Tait led both teams with nine digs on the night.
SUU (2-21, 1-11 Big Sky) was led by nine kills from Ann Clappier and 27 assists from Joanna Christenson.
As a team, the Wolverines (15-12, 8-3 WAC) set a new program record for hitting percentage, posting .543 on the night. That figure tops the previous program mark of .507, set Oct. 7, 2008, against Chicago State.
Utah Valley got off to a hot start to open the match, racing out to a 16-6 advantage in set one. Three kills apiece from Norris and Stringham helped power the early surge as the Wolverines scored the first six points of the frame. Southern Utah would not go away quietly, however, storming back to keep things interesting. An 8-3 Thunderbird rally brought the visitors to within five at 19-14, but UVU answered with six of the final eight points to close out the first set, 25-16.
Norris smashed a set-high five kills to pace the opening frame, followed by four kills from Hall and three apiece from Stringham and Wahlin. Hall also added a set-high 12 assists.
The set one script flipped in set two as it was SUU jumping out to an early advantage at 5-1. But back came the Wolverines, stringing out an 8-3 spurt, capped by a Norris kill sandwiched between two more from Fritzler, to claim a 9-8 lead. The Wolverines never trailed the rest of the way, growing the lead all the way to 11 at the final tally, 25-14.
Norris again led UVU, putting together a dominant set. The junior posted six kills in six swings — a perfect attack percentage. Fritzler, Stringham and Wahlin each added a trio more as the Wolverines recorded an .842 attack percentage as a team.
Needing a win to stay alive, SUU kept things close for much of set three. A 15-13 score line pointed toward it being anyone's set, but the Wolverines embarked on another big run to bring things home. This time a 7-2 surge, powered by kills from Fritzler and Stringham and a Norris service ace, gave UVU some breathing room to close the frame. A Fritzler kill and two SUU errors gave the Wolverines a 25-17 decision in set three and their second consecutive victory by sweep.
Having played three matches over the last five nights, Utah Valley now enjoys a short break before embarking on its Midwestern, WAC road trip. The Wolverines resume conference play Saturday at Kansas City before moving on to face Chicago State in the Windy City the following Monday. When the Kangaroos and Cougars visited Orem earlier this month, UVU earned a pair of wins — 3-2 over UMKC and 3-0 over CSU.
Kellen Hiser is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.
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