It's always good to be able to face in-state teams, and it's always going to be a battle when in-state teams get together. —Sam Atoa
The Utah Valley University volleyball team plays its first of three in-state contests on the week on Wednesday evening when it heads to Ogden for a rivalry match against Weber State. First serve for the Wolverines and Wildcats is set for 7 p.m., at WSU's Swenson Gym.
UVU enters Wednesday with an unblemished 2-0 record against in-state teams on the year with road wins over Southern Utah and Utah State.
"It's always good to be able to face in-state teams, and it's always going to be a battle when in-state teams get together," said head UVU coach Sam Atoa. "We're looking forward to a challenging match on Wednesday at Weber State."
The Wolverines enter the week with a 5-7 record after going 0-3 at the TCU Fight at the Fort last weekend in Fort Worth, Texas. UVU dropped its trio of contests to Lehigh, Duke and the host TCU Horned Frogs at the event.
In its tightest match of the weekend, Utah Valley nearly defeated the ACC Blue Devils, as the Wolverines took Duke to the full five sets. With a 2-1 match advantage and with the fourth set all tied up late at 23-23, Duke managed to string together a pair of crucial points to take the fourth set and went on to win the decisive fifth set to take the match, 3-2 (25-21, 19-25, 25-15, 23-25, 4-15). The Wolverines also dropped a pair of three-set matches to the Lehigh Mountain Hawks as well as the Big 12 Horned Frogs.
Senior outside hitter Lexi Thompson led Utah Valley at the event en route to earning Fight at the Fort All-Tournament Team honors. Thompson recorded a team-best 33 kills, a 3.0 kills per set average and a .253 attack percentage on the weekend.
UVU had a four-match winning streak come to a close in its first setback of the TCU Fight at the Fort to Lehigh. During Utah Valley's streak, the Wolverines defeated Long Beach State and Montana at home, as well as in-state foe Utah State and Idaho State on the road.
Thompson paces the Wolverines offensively on the season with 136 kills and a 3.09 kills per set average, while senior Madison Dennison leads the team at the net with 65 blocks and a 1.48 blocks per set clip. Dennison's blocking tallies are also both good enough to lead the WAC and rank her third nationally in total blocks and 27th in her blocks per set tally.
About Weber State
The Wildcats enter the week with a 1-8 overall record but will also welcome Utah State to town on Tuesday. WSU holds its lone win of the 2017 campaign over Northeastern on Sept. 1, in Northridge, California. Weber State has dropped four-straight matches after going winless at the UNLV Invitational last week in Las Vegas (vs. UNLV, Louisville and UC Irvine), as well as dropping a road match in straight sets at Pepperdine the previous week. The Wildcats were picked to finish eighth in the Big Sky this season after going 14-13 a year ago and 5-11 in league play.
Amanda Varley leads WSU offensively with 103 kills and a 3.03 kills per set average, while Hannah Hill paces the team at the net with 44 blocks and a 1.33 blocker per set clip.
All-time series vs. Weber State
Wednesday's matchup will mark the 19th all-time meeting between the Wolverines and Wildcats. UVU enters play holding to an 11-7 series advantage after having won seven of the past eight matches, including four in Ogden.
Up next for UVU
Utah Valley continues the in-state rivalry week by hosting No. 16 Utah on Friday and No. 14 BYU on Saturday at UVU's Lockhart Arena. Friday's clash against the Utes is set for a 5 p.m. start, while Saturday's meeting against the Cougars is slated for 7 p.m. Friday's contest will also be a precursor to Utah Valley's men's soccer's Homecoming match against Sacramento State later that night at Clyde Field.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.