OREM — Utah Valley University began a five-game home stand by sweeping Texas-Pan American (25-8, 25-17, 25-19) in WAC volleyball action Thursday night.
The Wolverines move to 6-2 in the WAC (12-11 overall) and host league leader New Mexico State on Saturday at 7 p.m. UVU was led by 10 kills from senior Katie Fritzler and nine from freshman Nakisha Willden.
“Every time that we’ve lost a tough match, the girls have been able to respond,” head coach Sam Atoa said referring to UVU’s loss at Utah State on Tuesday. “We were able to do that again tonight as well as help prepare ourselves for Saturday.”
Utah Valley started quickly in the opening set, scoring eight of the first 10 points. Leading 11-4, the Wolverines scored nine points in a row to extend the advantage to 20-4. UVU hit .409 in the game and was led by four kills from Willden and a pair of service aces by senior Brookelyn Hall.
The Broncs (11-12, 1-6 WAC) bounced back early in the second set as it remained tight early on. UVU held a 13-12 advantage midway through before a 10-1 run made it 21-13 en route to the eight-point win. The Wolverines took advantage of nine UTPA attack errors in the frame.
Five straight points late in the final set gave Utah Valley a 22-16 lead before finishing off the match on a kill by sophomore Kaysie Taylor. Fritzler had eight of her kills and hit .727 in the third set.
The Wolverines hit .309 for the match — .625 by Fritzler — and got 32 assists and three aces from Hall. Fritzler and sophomore Lauren Stringham also combined for four block assists apiece as UVU totaled 9.0 team blocks to UTPA's 3.0.
Alisha Watson and Haley Durham led the Broncs in the match by posting six kills apiece.
With the victory, the Wolverines improved to 23-1 all-time against the Broncs and a perfect 13-0 against them at the PE Building.
New Mexico State, 6-0 in league play entering a Thursday contest at Bakersfield, is the preseason pick to win the WAC. Utah Valley will enter Saturday tied for second with Seattle U.
“I feel like we’re a pretty good team,” Atoa said. “New Mexico State is playing very, very well, so Saturday is going to be to be a real battle. However, I expect us to come in prepared for the match and ready to do what we can do to be successful.”
Utah Valley enters Saturday's match 3-0 at home in WAC action. The meeting against the Aggies will be the first all-time meeting between the schools.
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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