By posting the second highest attack percentage of the season with a .288 clip, the Utah Valley University volleyball team earned its third-straight victory with a 3-1 win over WAC foe UMKC on Saturday afternoon at Swinney Recreation Center in Kansas City (27-29, 25-14, 25-21, 25-18).
The Wolverines improve to 10-12 overall and 5-2 in WAC play with the victory, while the Kangaroos drop to 7-13 on the season and 3-4 in league play with the setback.
"I was very happy with our effort, and the way that the girls were able to come back and respond there in the second set. You want to be able to win every set, but we learned some good lessons and responded well," UVU head coach Sam Atoa said. "We had several girls that showed up big for us today."
Three players topped double figures in kills on the afternoon led by Madison Dennison's 15 along with a team-high .464 hitting percentage. Lexi Thompson and Kristen Allred were next with 13 kills apiece, and Thompson added a double-double with 11 digs. Dennison and Brighton Taylor led the way at the net with five blocks apiece, while Sierra Starley dished out a match-high 44 assists and Seren Merrill added a team-best 14 digs.
"Brighton, Madison, Lexi and Kristen all did a great job of hitting for us. I was also very proud of Megan Boudreaux for coming in off of the bench and giving us a much-needed spark," added Atoa. "It was a fun win. This is a tough place for us to play, and the girls deserved this win."
In a tightly contested opening set that featured 18 ties and six lead changes, the Wolverines were the first to pull ahead at 16-12 following a 5-1 run. Ahead 19-15, the 'Roos then reeled off a 5-1 spurt of their own to deadlock the score at 20-20. The set then seesawed back and forth from there until UMKC drove three of the final four points to take the opening set by a score of 29-27. Following a UMKC attack error, the 'Roos then answered with a kill from the reigning WAC Player of the Week Alicia Harrington and an ace from Mykal Sadler to seal the first set.
Utah Valley then bounced back nicely in the early stages of the second set, as it jumped out to a 13-6 advantage following a 7-1 run. After a Kansas City point, the Wolverines countered back with four-consecutive points to extend their lead to 17-7. Taylor led the spurt with a block and a kill, while Thompson capped it off with a service ace. UVU cruised in the set from there en route to a 25-14 second-set victory to tie the match at 1-1. Thompson paced the Wolverines in the set with a trio of kills.
The home 'Roos then responded by building an 11-7 advantage in the third game, but back answered UVU by scoring four of the next five points to pull within one at 12-11. UMKC countered with a 4-1 run of its own to take a 16-12 lead following back-to-back Utah Valley attack errors. Trailing 17-14, the Wolverines made their move by reeling off a 6-1 spurt to take a 20-18 advantage. Dennison added a pair of blocks and a kill during the stretch, while Allred aided with a pair of kills. After back-to-back Kangaroo points tied the score at 20-all, UVU closed out the set with a key 5-1 run to take the third game, 25-21, and a 2-1 lead in the match. Dennison led the final spurt with a kill and an ace.
UVU then continued to hold the upper hand in the fourth set by jumping out to a 12-6 lead following a 9-2 run. The Wolverines went on to stretch their lead too as many as seven, at 17-10, but back answered UMKC with a 6-1 spurt to pull within two at 18-16. Utah Valley managed to withstand Kansas City's comeback attempt, however, by scoring five of the next six points to extend its lead to 23-17. Following a Kangaroo point, the Wolverines then put the set and match away on a kill and a solo block from Megan Boudreaux.
Behind Dennison's .464 hitting performance, Taylor was next for the Wolverines by posting a .429 attack percentage, and Boudreaux followed with an even .400 outing.
As a team, UVU managed to outhit the 'Roos, .288 to .135, and outblock UMKC, 12.0 to 5.0.
Harrington paced the Kangaroo attack on the day with 15 kills and 12 digs.
After going a perfect 2-0 on the weekend trip, the Wolverines will now return home to host fellow WAC foe Seattle U on Saturday, Oct. 21, at 1 p.m., at Lockhart Arena. The lone contest of the week will mark the first of a three-match homestand for UVU, as it will also host CSU Bakersfield (Oct. 26) and Grand Canyon (Oct. 28) the following week.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.