Utah Valley University picked up its third straight five-set victory Saturday afternoon as it held on to defeat Seattle University in its 2014 Western Athletic Conference opener at the PE Building (26-24, 21-25, 28-26, 20-25, 15-12).
Senior outside hitter Kalani Norris led the way for the Wolverines (6-9, 1-0 WAC) with a season-high 15 kills, while sophomore Macky Treanor added 11. Fellow sophomore Kiahna Steiner chipped in nine kills, while junior Lauren Bakker added eight and freshman Madison Wolford had seven. Bakker also paced UVU with five blocks.
The Wolverines managed to overcome a late 24-23 deficit in the opening frame by scoring three straight key points to take the first set by a score of 26-24. Senior Jen Hardman capped the rally with a crucial service ace.
After dropping the second set by four points, UVU used a 5-0 run midway through the third frame to tie the set a 16-all. With their backs against the wall once again in extra points in the third frame, the Wolverines took advantage of back-to-back SU (4-10, 0-1 WAC) attack errors to take the set, 28-26.
Utah Valley then looked to finish off the match in four sets as it built an 11-6 advantage, but back came the Redhawks as they scored seven of the next eight points to take a 13-12 lead. Seattle U held the upper hand from there as it took the fourth game by five points to set the stage for a fifth and decisive frame.
UVU struck back in the final set, however, as it opened up a quick 8-2 lead following a trio of Treanor kills. SU didn’t go away from there, pulling to within two at 14-12, but the Wolverines put the set away on the next very next point on another kill from the sophomore Treanor.
Senior McKenna Tait too played well for the Wolverines as she put up a season-high 27 digs, while Hardman added a team-best 25 assists.
Iris Ivanis paced the Redhawks with a match-high 17 kills and a team-high 13 digs.
The Wolverines continue WAC play at home next week against defending conference champion New Mexico State on Thursday evening and Texas-Pan American on Saturday afternoon.
UVU bests Seattle U in five sets in WAC opener
Utah Valley University coach Sam Atoa gives his thoughts about the team's win against Seattle U on Saturday.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.