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Utes get defensive against UNLV

Utah's volleyball team puts away Rebels in 4 games

Utah's volleyball team was winning its matches but letting opponents score too easily.

With two home Mountain West Conference matches this weekend and a week at home to practice, Beth Launiere's team concentrated on defensive skills.

And the Utes, led by a career high in blocks from senior Lyndsey Henderson, put those skills into practice Friday night, defeating UNLV (8-6, 2-2 MWC) in four games at Crimson Court.

Henderson had 13 blocks including the one that ended the match, with Utah winning Game 4 30-26. The Utes took Game 1 30-18 and dominated Game 3 in the same score, getting its passing in gear after losing the second game by six points.

"In Game 2, we just let up," said Launiere. "In the third game, we started to pass better and started to run our offense. Our offense is good when we run it."

It was Utah's ninth straight victory. It goes for No. 10 in a row, one short of the school record, tonight at 7 when it hosts San Diego State. The Aztecs got their first win of the season last week at Wyoming. UNLV is at BYU tonight.

Henderson, who transferred from Purdue in 2002 but who hails from Orem, broke her old career high of 10 blocks midway through the fourth game and kept going. She also had 14 kills on 30 attempts and two service aces.

Serving was another area in which Utah had concentrated during practice, said Launiere.

"Our block was a lot better. It was a goal to get three blocks per game, and we had more than four" in Friday's match, Launiere said, noting that blocking had gotten "a little undisciplined" during Utah's four-match road swing but picked up considerably Friday.

Emilie Toone had six blocks and Kelsie Kartchner added five.

Amie Toone, who played less than two games, came on strong with eight kills and just two errors for a .545 hitting percentage. Utah hit .370 in the third game as it gained the momentum that carried it through Game 4.

"It was a nice match by her," Launiere said.


E-mail: lham@desnews.com