SALT LAKE CITY – Sophomore outside hitter Chelsey Schofield turned in a match-high 15 kills on a season-high .448 hitting percentage to help the University of Utah volleyball team sweep Nevada, 3-0 (25-18, 25-15, 25-14) and clinch the Utah Classic title in its final non-conference match of the regular season at Crimson Court on Friday.
Utah (9-4) earned its third straight win after earning a .450 to .050 advantage in team hitting percentage. The Utes’ previous high mark for hitting percentage in a match was .359 at UC Davis on Aug. 31.
The Utes held an 11.0 to 1.0 edge in team blocking over the Wolf Pack.
“We finally started blocking some balls and playing defense behind it,” Utah head coach Beth Launiere said. “We were a lot more in control. We talked about keeping it clean on our side of the net and I think we improved on that as the day went on.”
The Utes swept all three matches of their Utah Classic matches with 3-0 victories over Utah Valley, Cal Poly and Nevada.
“Like I told the team, it wasn’t about who was across the net from us, it was about us getting better at the things we worked on this week in practice,” Launiere said. “And that is what we did. We played pretty good volleyball and executed on the things we were working on.”
Schofield took 29 swings and only committed a pair of errors for her 15 kills to record a season-high .448 hitting percentage.
Junior outside hitter Morgan Odale was the only other player in the match who hit double digits in kills as she collected 12 on 18 swings and only one miscue for a season-high .611 efficiency on the attack. The Star, Idaho, native recorded her third double-figure-kill match out of her last four outings and her sixth in 2012. She also tied for team-high honors with six digs.
“Obviously, Chelsea and Morgan had big matches tonight,” Launiere said. “Our middles had good numbers for both matches today. Overall, all of our hitters were pretty good.”
Junior middle blocker Erin Redd contributed eight kills on 11 attempts with a pair of errors for a .545 clip. She was Utah’s most effective server throughout the match as she tied her career-high for the third time with three aces, all in the first set against Nevada. The last instance came at against Washington State on Oct. 7, 2011 at Crimson Court.
Setters Kendall Cygan and McKenzie Odale totaled 37 assists in the match as Cygan posted 20 and Odale dished out 17.
Sophomore middle blocker Bailey Bateman posted a match-high six blocks against the Wolf Pack, the 10th time this season she has tied or led the Utes in blocking. In the back row, junior libero Nikki Sim tied Morgan Odale for the team lead with six digs.
The Utes took four of the first five points of the match and extended their lead to as many as many as six, the last time coming at 13-7, before a 6-1 stretch by Nevada brought the Wolf Pack to within a point, 14-13. Nevada was within a point on three more occasions before a crucial run of six consecutive Ute points gave them a 23-16 edge on the way to a 25-18 first-set win. Schofield had five kills and Bateman had three blocks as Utah hit a blistering .538 in the opening-set victory.
Utah got off to strong start in the second frame by scoring the first four points of the set, but Nevada answered with a 3-0 stretch to pull within one score. The Utes would regain its three-point edge at 8-5 before going on assume a seven-point lead at 16-9, a run that included three straight aces by Redd. Utah would lead by no fewer than five points the rest of the way and would eventually come away with a 25-15 win to take a 2-0 lead in the match. Morgan Odale went for seven kills on eight swings without an error in the second set for a .875 hitting percentage to help the Utes to a .357 to -.042 advantage in team hitting. Utah also picked up a 3.5 to 1.0 edge in team blocking over the Wolf Pack.
The Utes earned another quick start in the third frame as they claimed an early 3-1 edge. Utah then managed to gain a seven-point lead at 11-4 after putting together a 6-0 stretch.
Nevada (1-10) was led by a match-high eight digs from Kelly Chang.
The Utes begin Pac-12 Conference competition on Wednesday at Colorado. First serve from the Coors Events Center is set for 8 p.m. MT. The match will be televised live on the Pac-12 Network with Chris Marlowe (play-by-play) and Amy Gant (analyst) calling the action. In Salt Lake City, Pac-12 Networks is carried on Comcast. Pac-12 Mountain is channel 37, the national Pac-12 Network is channel 410 and Pac-12 Mountain HD is channel 757.
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