The Utah Valley University volleyball team started strong against its second straight ranked opponent on Friday, but in the end No. 23 Creighton was too much for the Wolverines to overcome as the ranked Bluejays took the contest in consecutive sets (25-23, 25-14, 25-20).
The match marked UVU's second of the day against a nationally ranked opponent as it fell to No. 22 Kansas in straight sets as well earlier in the day at the Kansas Invitational (25-11, 25-16, 25-18).
"We played two tough matches against a pair of top-25 teams today," head coach Sam Atoa said. "I felt like we had opportunities to be able to take care of certain things better than we did. But we're doing some good things. We're just not as consistent as we would like to be. However, I feel like these matches will help us improve and we can build on this and be ready to go against Lipscomb on Saturday."
The Wolverines (0-2) trailed the Bluejays (2-0), 16-10, midway through the opening set prior to reeling off four straight points to pull within two at 16-14. Sophomore Macky Treanor led the spurt with a kill and an ace. UVU later tied the score at 19-all on a block assist from senior Kalani Norris and freshman Madison Wolford and took its first lead since the early stages of the game at 20-19 following a CU attack error.
After a clutch kill from sophomore Kiahna Steiner and another Creighton attack error, the Wolverines once again tied the score at 23-23. The ranked Bluejays answered, however, by scoring back-to-back points to take the first set by a mere two points.
Despite dropping the opening set, UVU recorded eight more block assists than Creighton in the frame (8-0).
The Bluejays came out looking strong in set number two as they doubled up the Wolverines early in the frame. CU extended its advantage to 22-9, but UVU didn't go away as it scored five of the final eight points in the set, including a pair of aces from sophomore Kelcee Munk.
The Wolverines bounced back in the third set as they jumped out to a quick 4-1 lead following a block assists from senior Cassie Wahlin and Wolford. Later in the frame, UVU scored a trio of consecutive points to take a 13-12 advantage. Creighton bounced back with five unanswered points of its own to take a 17-13 lead. The Bluejays maintained the lead from there as they finished out the set by a score of 25-20.
The matchup marked the first meeting between the two programs.
Treanor paced UVU in the contest with seven kills, while the true freshman Wolford led the Wolverines at the net with five block assists. Senior McKena Tait also had a nice match by recording 21 digs.
Leah McNary led the Bluejays with 12 kills.
Treanor and Norris led the Wolverines earlier in the day with eight kills apiece against the Jayhawks.
The Wolverines conclude the Kansas Invitational on Saturday as they take on Lipscomb of the Atlantic Sun Conference at 10:30 a.m. MT. Following this weekend's opening-season tournament, UVU heads to Evanston, Wyoming, to face the University of Wyoming on Monday at 4 p.m. at Evanston High School.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.