Utah Valley University volleyball earned its second-consecutive sweep with a dominant 3-0 win over Grand Canyon University in Western Athletic Conference play on Saturday afternoon at Lockhart Arena (25-19, 25-17, 25-18).
Utah Valley moves into a tie for second place in the conference standings with the victory (12-13, 7-3 WAC), while the Antelopes drop to seventh place with the setback (8-15, 3-8 WAC).
"Grand Canyon just beat Seattle, entered today on a three-game winning streak and has been one of the hottest teams on the road so we knew we couldn't take them for granted," said UVU head coach Sam Atoa. "Our girls played really well and allowed us to go from a different style of game on Thursday to more of an inside game than an outside game against these guys. I thought that the adjustments the girls made were great, and I'm very pleased with how well we performed."
Madison Dennison led all players with a match-high 15 kills and was followed closely by Alexis Davies who registered 12 of her own. Dennison and Brighton Taylor each recorded a match-high seven blocks, while Izzie Hinton pitched in six as well. Sierra Starley and Lexi Thompson also earned match highs in assists and digs with 36 and 13, respectively.
As a team, the Wolverines posted a season-high .402 attack percentage in the contest behind .833 hitting from Taylor (5-0-6), .538 from Hinton (7-0-13), .440 from Dennison (15-4-25) and .379 from Davies (12-1-29).
"You've got to be happy anytime you hit over .400," Atoa said. "We're ecstatic, and I was pleased that we were able to take control in both the middle, as well as on the ends. I'm very pleased with our offensive performance today."
UVU opened the match with a 3-0 run to take control of the first set. GCU battled back to tie the game at 5-5, and the two teams traded points until the media timeout where the Lopes claimed a 15-14 lead. Coming out of the timeout, the Wolverines scored the next three points to take a 17-15 advantage, and holding an 18-17 lead later in the opening game, Utah Valley put together a 6-0 run to get to set point. A kill from Davies a few points later put the set away for UVU at 25-19. Dennison recorded seven kills and two blocks during the first set to lead the Wolverines.
With the score knotted up at 5-5 early, UVU went on a 3-1 run to grab a slight advantage. Grand Canyon again tied things up at 10 and later went on a 3-0 run to take a 15-12 lead. Utah Valley answered with three-consecutive points to even the score at 15 and put together an 11-1 run overall to take control of the game at 23-16. A block from Taylor and Davies and an attack error by GCU closed out the set at 25-17 and gave the Wolverines a 2-0 lead in the match. Taylor registered four kills and six blocks in the set to for UVU.
Utah Valley got off to a quick start in the third game with a 3-0 run. The Wolverines gradually extended their lead to six at 13-7 and took a 15-10 lead into the media timeout. UVU later extended its lead to 20-10 thanks to a 7-0 run. Grand Canyon went on a quick 3-0 run, but Utah Valley put away the match on a kill from Madi Wardle. Dennison and Davies helped UVU close things out with seven and six kills in the final set, respectively.
Besides outhitting GCU, .402 to .158, the Wolverines also held a significant advantage at the net by outblocking the Lopes, 14-2.
The straight-set victory marked UVU's first back-to-back sweep since last November when it swept Seattle U and GCU in consecutive matches.
The Wolverines now hit the road for a key two-match road trip, starting with a visit to Las Cruces to take on first-place New Mexico State (17-7, 8-2 WAC) on Thursday, Nov. 2. Following the match with the Aggies, UVU will head to Texas to face second-place UT Rio Grande Valley (13-10, 7-3 WAC) on Saturday, Nov. 4. Following that trip, the Wolverines will return home to close their regular season against UMKC (Nov. 9) and Chicago State (Nov. 11) the following week.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit GoUVU.com.