OREM En route to besting its previous record of 18 wins in a season, Utah Valley State's volleyball team had no problem sweeping its first two games of the Division I Independent Tournament Friday to clinch a spot in the title game.
UVSC reached the 20-win mark in a victory (30-17, 30-24, 30-22) over Texas-Pan American in the nightcap, giving the team a chance to hoist a championship trophy for the second time in three years.
"We're a good team," said UVSC coach Sam Atoa. "I think when we are clicking on our passing and our serving, it's hard to stop us."
And the Wolverines have clicked as superb hitting by its expected leaders led the Wolverines to both wins.
Senior Jessica Endres showed she was well deserving of the DI Independent offensive player of the year award by hitting over .500 in both of UVSC's matches including a .562 mark over Texas-Pan American.
Home-court advantage is sparking the Wolverines, but Endres said last year's second-place finish in the tournament is pushing the team to do better.
"For sure it helps to be home, but also we lost in the finals last year," Endres said. "We have some motivation from that."
Game 2 was the closest Texas-Pan American came. They managed to only have a three-point deficit near the end with UVSC leading 24-21. But the Wolverines took care of business by spreading the ball around their front hitters.
Weber State transfer Kristi Lindley is the main part in giving her teammates good swings at the ball, leading the way with 79 assists over two matches.
"We've done a good job meshing as a team and that's made a big difference," Lindley said.
Getting to the 20-win mark in its the fifth season of NCAA competition is remarkable for the program, but UVSC coach Sam Atoa is just glad the team is getting better year after year.
"I think it's great (to reach the mark)," Atoa said. "Especially when we are getting better and improving. Whether it's 20 or 19 (wins), we have a few more wins than we did last year and we are doing some good things."
For the Wolverines opening match, they beat Providence (30-18, 30-21, 30-16) without any problems.
Endres led the team with 12 kills and hit .611 in the win over the Friars. Kristin Anderson added 10 kills and hit .438 in the match.
Poor hitting undid Providence as the team only hit .110 .