TUCSON — Freshman outside hitter Chelsey Schofield posted a team-high 13 kills to go with a match-high-tying four blocks, but the University of Utah volleyball team lost in three sets to Arizona (23-25, 23-25, 23-25) in a Pac-12 match Friday in the McKale Center.
Utah (9-18, 4-14 Pac-12) outblocked Arizona 7.0 to 6.0, but the Wildcats held a slight .242 to .212 edge in hitting percentage. This was the 20th match this season that the Utes have outblocked their opponents.
Schofield took 34 swings and committed five errors on the attack for a .235 hitting percentage for her 13 kills. At the net, she came up with two solo blocks and two block assists, in addition to five blocks.
Senior middle blocker Danielle Killpack tied Schofield for match-high honors with four blocks against the Wildcats.
Sophomore middle blocker Erin Redd posted nine kills on 25 attempts with four errors for a .200 efficiency. Freshman outside hitter Shelby Dalton registered eight kills with only one error on 18 swings for a team-high .412 hitting efficiency (minimum five attack attempts).
Sophomore outside hitter Morgan Odale turned in her 10th double-digit-dig match of the season with a team-high 10 digs against Arizona. The Star, Idaho native now has had 10 or more digs in 20 matches over her career. She also pitched in five kills to help the Utes on the attack.
Junior setter Abby Simmons dished out 29 assists, her sixth 20-plus-assist match of the season.
The opening set was tied four times, the last instance coming at 4-4, before Arizona surged to an 8-5 lead after putting together a 4-1 run. The Utes came within a point of the Wildcats seven times, but could not prevent a 25-23 first-set loss. Utah hit for a .225 mark on the attack, while Arizona went for a .250 clip.
The second frame was close throughout as the action was tied 18 times. At the 22-22 mark, Arizona then closed strong by taking three of the final four points of the set for another 25-23 victory. Utah went for a match-high .314 mark on the attack, committing only three errors as a team on 35 total swings. Unfortunately, Arizona was just as efficient on the attack with a .316 hitting percentage.
The third set was even tighter as neither team led by more than two points the entire way. There were 19 ties with the final one coming at 23 points apiece, but unfortunately a Wildcat block and Utah attack error gave the Wildcats a third consecutive 25-23 victory to clinch the match. The offenses slowed down in the finale, as Arizona hit .167 while yielding a .105 mark to Utah on the attack.
Arizona (16-10, 8-9 Pac-12) had three players in double-figures in kills, led by a match-high 16 from freshman Courtney Karst. Karst turned in a .500 hitting percentage with only one error on 30 attack attempts.
The Utes take on Arizona State Saturday at 7 p.m.
WEBER STATE 3, NORTHERN ARIZONA 2: At Ogden, the season might be winding down, but these Wildcats are playing for more than pride.
Junior outside hitter Bethany Wray had her 10th career double-double, leading the way as the Weber State University women's volleyball team won a nail-biting five-set marathon against Northern Arizona on Friday night at Swenson Gym.
Wray had a match high-tying 16 kills and a career-high 26 digs as the Wildcats won 25-16, 22-25, 20-25, 25-19, 15-13, earning a season-series sweep of the Lumberjacks.
"It was just a tremendous all-around effort from our players tonight,"? Weber State coach Tom Peterson said. "That's a very good team we beat, and they played well tonight. Our players really competed hard. It was a fun match."
Junior middle blocker Dama Cox added a career-high 16 kills, five blocks and a trio of service aces, while sophomore outside hitter Briana Wilms added 14 kills and eight blocks, giving the Wildcats a 1-2-3 punch.
"It's amazing to see what happens when everyone decides to show up at once,"? Wray said. "We beat NAU before so we knew it was possible. They key tonight was teamwork. We had a few people in different positions defensively, which really made a huge difference.
"A big thanks to our amazing supporters, who continually take time to attend our matches. They made a world of difference tonight and always."
In addition the triumvirate, Peterson also pointed to sophomore outside hitter Piper Wahlin, redshirt freshman middle blocker Ashley Orr and junior setter Caitlin Penrod, who each had five kills for the Wildcats as they found gaps in the middle of the net as Northern Arizona tried to defend Weber State's outside hitters.
Penrod had 50 assists, her second-highest career output, along with eight digs and five blocks, while Orr added five blocks and two digs, and Wahlin had a season-high nine digs.
As a team, the Wildcats reached season highs in kills (62) and digs (71). The 71 digs was the most for Weber State since November of 2009.
After trading wins in the first four sets, it came down to a decisive fifth set for a sixth time this season.
Weber State surged ahead 8-4 at the midpoint, taking the lead into the end-change for the first time this season. The Wildcats led 12-8 before the Lumberjacks rallied to make to make it 12-11.
The teams traded points the rest of the way before the Wildcats closed it out on an attack error by the Lumberjacks.
Weber State will host its final home match of the season on Saturday night against league-leading Northern Colorado. First serve is set for 7 p.m.
UTAH VALLEY 3, NORTH DAKOTA 1: At Orem, Brookelyn Campbell delivered her first career triple-double and Jaicee Kuresa smashed 14 kills en route to a four-set victory over North Dakota (25-20, 20-25, 25-19, 25-19) that clinched the first-ever Great West Conference regular season title for the Wolverines.
"We had to work hard for the win, and we knew North Dakota was going to be tough," said UVU head volleyball coach Sam Atoa. "I'm proud that the girls stayed disciplined in doing the things they needed to do for us to take care of things tonight."
UVU (22-8, 9-1 GWC) wasted no time getting on the scoreboard in the first set, putting together a 6-0 run to jump ahead 8-2 over the Fighting Sioux (24-5, 8-2 GWC). McKenna Tait dropped in three service aces and Kuresa drilled three kills during the rally. UND countered with a run of its own to pull within two at 11-9, but another huge Wolverine rally would ultimately seal the opening set for the home team. A pair of kills from Katie Fritzler, who filled in at middle blocker for the injured Erica Nish, and another ace from Tait fueled a 10-2 run that made the score 21-11. A late rally by UND kept things interesting, but a pair of Sarah Clement kills and another from Fritzler closed out the first set for UVU, 25-20.
UVU got a set-high five kills from Clement in the opening frame, followed by three apiece from Fritzler and Kuresa. Tait's four service aces rounded out UVU's offensive attack.
After trading blows for the first half of the second set, it was UND that eventually grabbed control of the set, forging a 5-0 run to take a 19-14 lead. UVU showed signs of a comeback after a Kuresa kill cut the deficit to 21-18, but the Wolverines couldn't overcome the late setback, dropping the second set, 20-25.
UVU responded aggressively to begin the third set, racing to a 7-1 advantage behind three kills and a solo block from Kuresa and two more aces from Tait. The disparity was brief, however, as the Sioux slowly worked their way back into the set, pulling within two at 16-14. Refusing to surrender the lead, UVU pieced together a crucial 6-2 run behind two kills from Heaps and a couple blocks from Clement that made the score 22-16. Two big kills from Heaps and Kuresa would eventually clinch the third set for the Wolverines, 25-19.
Kuresa paced UVU with four kills in the frame while Clement added three. Clement also combined with Campbell for two block assists in the third set win.
The Wolverines maintained their theme of fast starts throughout the match to begin the fourth set, sprinting out to a swift 10-2 lead. Highlighting the run were two kills from Campbell, a block and a kill from Clement, and kills from Heaps, Kuresa, and Lindsay Barker. UND cut the lead to three at 12-9, but an 8-1 run, powered by three kills from Barker, two more from Kuresa, and a big block assist from Barker and Clement grew the lead to 20-10. Again, UND pulled themselves to within four at 22-18, but Clement and Heaps each added a kill down the stretch to secure the set, the match, and the championship for the Wolverines, 25-19.
Barker led the way with five kills in the decisive set and Campbell, Heaps, Kuresa, and Clement each registered three. Campbell also delivered 12 assists while Tait's ace gave her a season-high seven in the match.
Campbell finished the match with a career-high 10 kills, 36 assists, and 12 digs to give her a rare triple-double. Clement had a big night on Senior Night as well, smashing 13 kills to go along with five block assists. All in all, the Wolverines turned in a complete team effort in their championship-clinching performance.
"Everybody had to step up tonight," said Atoa, "and everybody did their part in the win. We dug some balls and played some good defense. Brookelyn had a nice match but all of our girls stepped up and did what they needed to do."
With the win, UVU closed out the season with a three game win-streak and finished with an impeccable 14-2 home record.
With the regular season now over, UVU will return to Grand Forks, N.D., next weekend as it attempts to bring home its first-ever GWC Tournament Championship. The tourney is set to run Nov. 17-19 at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center on the campus of the University of North Dakota. As regular season champs, the Wolverines have earned a bye through the first round and will face a yet-to-be-determined opponent in Friday's semifinal.
GREAT FALLS 3, WESTMINSTER 0: At Helena, Mont., the Griffins saw their season come to an end with a 3-0 loss to Great Falls in the quarterfinals of the Frontier Conference Tournament on Friday afternoon. Westminster was the No. 4 seed while Great Falls was the fifth-seed.
Westminster ends the season at 11-15 overall and went 8-6 in league to earn that fourth seed. They end the year with a loss in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament for the third time in the past four seasons. Great Falls improved to 22-9 overall.
Ashley Marchant led the Griffins with six kills while also recording four digs. Kenzie Mitchell added five kills and three blocks. Emily Atkinson had 22 assists, seven digs and four kills with Kyndall Kordakis recording 15 digs.
UGF had a 51-28 advantage in kills during the match and held the Griffins to .081 hitting. Kelsey VanUden led the Argos with 13 kills and a .276 hitting efficiency.