LINCOLN, Neb. -- The Utah volleyball team opened the 2014 Womens Volleyball Championship with a convincing 3-0 (25-16, 25-16, 25-17) sweep over the Kansas State Wildcats Friday afternoon at Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln.
The Utes (20-12) outhit the Wildcats (22-9) .343 to .072, collecting 43 kills with just nine errors on 99 attempts. Utah had 10.0 team blocks, with senior Chelsey Schofield-Olsen and redshirt freshman Carly Trueman leading the way with four blocks each. Schofield-Olsen collected a team-high two solo blocks and a pair of blocks assists, while Trueman tallied four block assists.
Schofield-Olsen led the Utes with 11 kills and had just three errors while hitting .320 in the match. Senior Shelby Dalton and freshman Adora Anae had the exact same stat line, finishing the match with 10 kills, no errors and a hitting percentage of .556.
I thought we played a really good volleyball match tonight, said Utah head coach Beth Launiere. That was a pretty well rounded match and we did a lot of things well. Kansas State made some runs for sure, but I thought we answered them. I thought that our experience level was alive and well tonight and I had a freshman that had a pretty great match as well.
Dalton opened the first set with a kill and later recorded her fourth kill of the set to give the Utes a 25-16 win in set one. Anae had five kills in the first set, which saw Utah lead by as many as 10 points. The set was tied early 3-3, but Utah went on an 8-1 run and never looked back. The Utes hit .278 as a team in the first set, while the Wildcats registered a hitting percentage of just .023.
Schofield-Olsen collected six kills and a pair of block assists to help guide the Utes to a 25-16 second-set win and a 2-0 lead as both teams headed to the locker room. Both teams traded points throughout the majority of the first half of the second set until Utah went on an 8-0 run to go up 21-14. The Utes then closed out the set winning four of the last five points and Schofield-Olsens ninth kill of the match gave Utah the two-set advantage.
The Utes and Wildcats would open the third set, trading points back-and-forth, until a 6-1 run pushed Utahs lead to 11-6. Utah later won five of the next eight points, which forced KSU to take a timeout, down 16-10. KSU countered with a 4-1 run, but the Utes managed to close out the set with kills from Dalton and senior Bailey Bateman to take the set, 25-17, and sweep the Wildcats 3-0.
Senior Lea Adolph led the back-row with a match-high 15 digs, while both Anae and senior Kalee Kirby collected nine digs in the match. Adolph had a match-high three service aces and Anae added two service aces as well.
K-State had its lowest hitting percentage on the season with its .072 output. Big 12 Freshman of the Year, Kylee Zumach, came into the match leading the Wildcats with 406 kills (3.59/set), but she recorded just six kills on .042 hitting against the Utah defense. Chelsea Keating led the Wildcats with seven kills and Gina Madonia had a team-high nine digs.
The Utes have now won eight of its last nine matches dating back to Nov. 7, and with the win, Utah moves on to the second round. The Utes will face either No. 11 Nebraska (20-9) or Hofstra (28-5) Saturday evening at 7 p.m. (CST).
I think my team plays pretty loose, said Launiere. It is going to be a big challenge tomorrow night, no doubt, but I like the experience level and this group has a high trust level with amongst them.
The Utes are 1-0 all-time against Hofstra and 0-2-1 all-time against Nebraska. Utah has not faced Hofstra since 1993 and the last time the Utes and Cornhuskers met was in the second round of the NCAA Championship Tournament back on Dec. 5, 1998. Nebraska won the match, 3-1.