OREM — Despite its effort against No. 24 Wichita State in the finale of the La Quinta Inn and Suites Invitational on Saturday evening, the Utah Valley University volleyball team fell in straight sets to the Shockers (22-25, 23-25, 19-25).
"First of all, you've got to hand it to Wichita State," head coach Sam Atoa said. "They played hard and they played quick. We just weren't able to transition fast enough to keep up with their offense. We had our chances and I felt like we did some really good things, but it was just one or two mistakes in that first set and another one or two in the second set that needed to be avoided or maybe the result would have been different. They made the plays at the end when they mattered and we fell short, so our job is now to get better at the end of games. And I expect us to do that as we prepare for next week."
True freshman Macky Treanor was the lone Wolverine (1-2) named to the all-tournament team as she led UVU all weekend long. Treanor tallied 46 kills, a 5.11 kill per set average, a .447 attack percentage, three service aces and 27 digs in her first weekend of collegiate volleyball.
Treanor also led the Wolverines on Saturday evening against the Shockers (2-1) as she recorded a match-high 16 kills. The freshman also put up nine kills while hitting .412 for the match. Behind her, fellow outside hitter Kalani Norris too topped double digits in kills with 14 and added a double-double by recording 10 digs. Middle blocker Lauren Stringham was next in kills for UVU with eight while setter Brookelyn Hall dished out a match-high 39 assists.
A 6-0 run in the first set helped the Shockers build a seven-point lead midway through the frame. Utah Valley battled back to within two, at 19-17, after five unanswered points of its own. Norris spurred the rally with a pair of kills.
An ace from Norris and a kill from middle blocker Katie Fritzler helped the Wolverines keep it close down the stretch, but a kill by WSU's Sam Sanders sealed the first frame for the Shockers. Norris and WSU's Elizabeth Field led their respective teams with six kills apiece in the set.
UVU used a quartet of consecutive kills from Fritzler, Hall and two from Treanor to take a 10-7 advantage in the second set. Treanor helped the Wolverines stretch their lead to five with a couple more kills, but back came the Shockers as they tied the score at 19-19 after a 4-0 run.
The set went back-and-forth from there, but WSU took advantage of two Wolverine errors down the stretch to take set number two by a score of 25-23.
Despite dropping the second set, UVU posted a .410 attack percentage, and the freshman Treanor led the offensive charge with 11 kills while hitting .917 (11-for-12).
With the third set knotted up at 8-all, WSU used a 6-1 run to take command. Fritzler, Norris and Treanor tried to help the Wolverines stage a late comeback by each drilling home kills, but the deficit was too large to overcome as WSU took the final set by six points.
Earlier in the day, UVU picked up its first win of the season with a sweep of North Dakota State (25-14, 25-19, 25-19). Treanor led the way in the contest by setting a single-match record in a three-set contest with 20 kills.
"I think we'll walk away from this weekend knowing we've done some great things and having seen some things that we can build on," Atoa said. "I'm not disappointed in the effort that we put forward, maybe a little disappointed in the losses, but there was a lot that we did that we can be proud of."
Arizona State ran away with the La Quinta Inn and Suites Invitational crown by sweeping through the competition this weekend. The Shockers came in second with a 2-1 record while North Dakota State left Orem winless.
Saturday's contest against Wichita State marked UVU's (1-2) first home match against a ranked opponent since No. 24 Michigan defeated the Wolverines on Sept. 2, 2011.
The Wolverines will remain home to host their second straight nationally ranked opponent when No. 13 BYU comes to town Tuesday. The in-state rivalry contest will begin at 7 p.m. and will be televised locally on UVU TV.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.
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