OREM — Utah Valley University earned its second WAC win of the week on Saturday, sweeping Chicago State, 3-0 (25-13, 25-14, 26-24), at the PE Building.
Kalani Norris was the match's lone player in double-digit kills Saturday, posting 13 for the match. That performance was followed by eight kills from Nakisha Willden and seven from Lauren Stringham. Brookelyn Hall delivered 21 assists.
CSU (2-16, 0-4 WAC) was led by nine kills from Paula Sioto, and setter Mackenzie Lotter led the match with 22 assists.
With the win, the Wolverines (10-9, 4-1 WAC) have won eight of their last nine contests and are 13-0 all-time against the Cougars. UVU sits in second place in the current WAC standings, trailing New Mexico State and its 3-0 conference mark. NM State faces Seattle U, which is 3-1 in conference with a win over the Wolverines, in Las Cruces on Sunday in a battle for first place.
Already leading two sets to none, UVU faced its largest deficit of the match in the third frame when it fell behind at 12-5. But the home team steadily clawed its way back, eventually leveling things at 16-16. Punctuating the comeback sequence were three consecutive Wolverine blocks that closed the gap between the two teams. Jaramey Barney and Willden combined on the first stop, and Stringham delivered a solo effort on the next point to make the score 16-15. Stringham then teamed up with Cassie Wahlin to stuff Valeria Desiderio's effort and level the score at 16-all.
Points were exchanged for the remainder of the half as the Wolverines and Cougars battled through eight ties in the set. In the latter stages, back-to-back UVU points put the Wolverines on the cusp of the sweep at 24-22, but CSU answered with a pair of its own to again level things at 24-24.
The match was finally settled when Willden's fourth kill of the frame preceded a CSU attack error, giving UVU its fourth conference victory with a 26-24 third set decision.
For the match, Utah Valley outhit Chicago State at .232 to -.032. The Wolverines also tallied seven total blocks to the Cougars' five.
With the second set tied at 7-7 early on, Utah Valley opened things up with a 9-1 rally. Katie Fritzler powered the run with three kills as the Wolverines forced the Cougars into five attack errors. UVU maintained its advantage from there, posting its largest lead of the set in the final score line, 25-14. Norris' six kills paced the Wolverines, while setters Hall and Jen Hardman combined for nine assists.
UVU closed the first set with a 7-1 run as it grabbed an early advantage with a 25-13 victory. Stringham led the Wolverines with four kills, and Hall added a set-high seven assists. CSU recorded just six kills on 22 attempts with nine attack errors for a percentage of -.136.
WAC play continues for Utah Valley next week when it makes its desert road swing. The Wolverines visit Bakersfield on Thursday before visiting Phoenix for a date with Grand Canyon on Saturday. Both matches get underway at 8 p.m. MT.
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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