OREM — Fresh off a 6-1 road trip and a 2-1 start in Western Athletic Conference play, the Utah Valley University volleyball team returns home for its first-ever home WAC matches this weekend. The Wolverines will first welcome Kansas City to the PE Building on Thursday before taking on former Great West Conference foe Chicago State on Saturday.
Thursday's match against the Kangaroos begins at 7 p.m., while Saturday's matinée versus the Cougars takes place at 1 p.m. Live video and live stats for both contests will be available free of charge.
"We're thrilled and excited to finally be home and to be able to host our first conference matches," head coach Sam Atoa said. "We were on the road for a long time so it will be great to be back in front of our family members and fans on our home court this weekend."
The Wolverines will enter play with an 8-9 overall record and in a tie for second place in the conference standing at 2-1 after picking up road WAC wins at Idaho (3-2) last Thursday and at Texas-Pan American (3-0) on Monday. In between those two road triumphs, UVU suffered its lone setback of the seven-match road stretch at Seattle U last Saturday. The Wolverines fell in a tightly contested five-set contest to the Redhawks (22-25, 25-14, 25-27, 25-23, 13-15).
During UVU's first-ever WAC matches last weekend, sophomore middle blocker Lauren Stringham led the way with 42 kills (3.23 kill/set average), a .372 attack percentage and 24 blocks (1.85 block/set average). Junior outside hitter Kalani Norris was next in kills with 33 (2.54 kill/set average), while senior setter Brookelyn Hall topped the team in assists with an average of 9.23 per set. Junior libero McKenna Tait led in digs and aces with 64 (4.92 dig/set average) and nine, respectively.
Freshman outside hitter Macky Treanor leads the Wolverines in kills on the season with 180 and a 3.46 kill per set average. She also ranks third in the WAC in kills per set and in points with 205. Stringham is tops on the squad in blocks with 77 and hitting percentage (.318), and ranks second in the WAC in kill per set average (1.22) and fourth in attack percentage. Hall leads the way in assists and ranks second in the conference with her 9.31 assist per set average, while Tait leads in digs with her 3.88 dig per set average. Tait also leads the WAC in aces with 28.
During the 6-1 road stretch, UVU also recorded wins over Weber State, Air Force, UC Riverside and Wyoming.
About Kansas City
The Kangaroos will come to Orem in first place in the WAC standings with a perfect 2-0 league record. UMKC, which is 8-6 overall, began its first year of play in the WAC with road wins over Grand Canyon and Chicago State last weekend. The `Roos were picked to finish sixth in their inaugural season of play in the WAC.
Sydney Crimmins is the current WAC Player of the Week after the right side averaged 4.38 kills, 4.94 points and 2.50 digs while hitting .325 in the two conference victories last week. Crimmins leads Kansas City in kills on the season with a 2.93 kill per set average and a .231 attack percentage. Emma Hagedorn leads the `Roos in blocks with 76 and leads the entire WAC with her 1.41 block per set average.
Thursday's match between UVU and UMKC will mark the first meeting in program history between the two schools.
About Chicago State
The Cougars are 2-14 overall and 0-2 in conference play with home losses to Kansas City and Grand Canyon last weekend. Chicago State snapped a 32-match losing streak against Delaware State on Sept. 13, and first-year head coach Toby Rens recorded his 300th career victory in CSU's second win of the season later that day against Saint Peter's. The Cougars were picked to finish last in their first season of play in the WAC.
Paula Sioto's 191 kills and her 3.54 kill per set average leads Chicago State offensively, while Medeleine Radtke's 28 blocks and 0.52 block per set average leads the Cougars defensively.
CSU will be looking for its first-ever win over the Wolverines on Saturday, as UVU currently leads the all-time series, 12-0.
Up next for the Wolverines
UVU will head back out on the road next week for two more conference clashes. The Wolverines will head to Bakersfield, Calif., to take on Bakersfield on Oct. 10, and then down to Phoenix, Ariz., to meet up with Grand Canyon on Oct. 12.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company