OREM, Utah – The Utah Valley University women's volleyball team needed the minimum three sets to pick up its fifth consecutive win Friday night, defeating conference opponent Chicago State 3-0 (25-23, 25-17, 25-22) at the PE Building.
"Our girls stayed disciplined tonight and recognized what they needed to do to win," UVU head coach Sam Atoa said. "Chicago State made a few runs but we trusted in our abilities to answer those runs. That's something we're working on getting better at each match, understanding that they will make runs but we just need to be ready for the next ball."
UVU (12-7, 4-0 GWC) appeared to be running away with the opening set after a 6-1 run gave the Wolverines a 14-7 advantage. CSU (2-22, 0-5 GWC) clawed their way back, though, winning 11 of the next 14 points to take an 18-17 lead. With set one suddenly in the balance, UVU got big kills from Katie Fritzler and Nish to knot the score at 19-all. The sides traded points all the way to 23-23, the Wolverines getting two kills from Lindsay Morrell along the way. Norris smashed home the final of her four kills in the set to give UVU game-point at 24-23 before Hall and Fritzler sealed the frame with a combined block.
UVU created some early separation again in set two, using a 7-0 run to take a quick 10-3 lead. Fritzler contributed a kill and a service ace during the rally, while Nish added a kill of her own.
The lead would grow to as many as seven for the Wolverines at 16-9, but again it was the Cougars looking for a late surge. A 5-1 run moved CSU to within three at 17-14, but UVU was determined the visitors would get no closer. After splitting the next four points, the Wolverines strung together back-to-back kills from Morrell and Norris, pushing the UVU advantage to five at 21-16. The Wolverines would have little trouble closing from there, grabbing a commanding 2-0 set advantage behind a 25-17 second set win.
UVU's big hitters – Fritzler, Morrell, Nish, Norris and Stringham – all finished with a pair of kills in the frame, while setter Brookelyn Hall put up a double-digit assist performance with 10, her second in a row after totaling 13 in set one.
A kill from Norris, a kill and block from Hall, and a big solo block from Stringham highlighted the 6-0 run pieced together by UVU early in the third set. The rally made the score 7-3 early, but the advantage quickly grew to 13-6 as freshman Jaramey Barney got in on the act with a kill.
The Cougars got to within 15-10, but a kill on the outside from freshman Bailey Farris gave way to another up the middle from Stringham. The Wolverines maintained the seven-point cushion to 20-13 and despite a big comeback push from the visitors, used three Nish kills to power them to the finish. UVU would take the third and final set 25-22 to complete the sweep.
Four freshman got in on the attack in the last set as Farris finished three kills, Barney and Stringham two, and Kaysie Taylor delivered the final point of the match with her lone kill. Freshman Ali White also made her mark on the match with five assists in the final frame.
In all, 12 Wolverines took the court Friday night.
Morrell finished with five kills, and Hall added four to her match-high 30 assists.
CSU's Alyssa Podwell posted a match-high 10 kills, while three other Cougars chipped in seven.
UVU will have less than 24 hours to prepare for its next match as the Wolverines host future WAC foe CSU Bakersfield Saturday at 6 p.m. in the PE Building. It will be the second meeting between the two squads this season with UVU looking to avenge a 3-2 loss in Bakersfield on Sept. 22.
"We expect to be a better team than we were a month ago," added Atoa. "It's nice to be able to play a team a second time and having made our first pass through conference play our goal is to be a better team the second time through."
UVU and CSUB accepted invitations to join the WAC in 2013 earlier this month.
Saturday night's meeting with the Wolverines marks the second of two matches for the Roadrunners on the day. CSUB and Chicago State kick off the day's volleyball action in a neutral site match held at 1 p.m. in the PE Building.
Kellen Hiser is sports information assistant at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company