In a lengthy five-set thriller in Orem Tuesday night, the Utah Valley women's volleyball team came from behind to defeat in-state foe Southern Utah by a score of 25-27, 25-17, 17-25, 29-27, 19-17.
With the victory UVU improved to 14-9 overall and remains perfect all-time against the Thunderbirds (11-9) with a 4-0 record. The win for the Wolverines was also their fifth in their last six matches.
"I thought that Southern Utah played very well, they learned from the last time we played together and really played hard," UVU head coach Sam Atoa said. "I was proud of our girls, especially when we were down and how they were able to keep their composure and remain confident in their abilities to play. That is what allowed us to be able to make those comebacks and win those close sets."
The Wolverines entered the fourth set with their backs against the wall, trailing 2-1. The set stayed very close early as teams traded points back and forth. SUU worked a three point lead at 11-8, but UVU answered right back by scoring the next three to tie it at 11-all. The T-Birds then went ahead by a couple of points until the Wolverines countered and cut the deficit to one at 18-17 on a service ace by freshman Brookelyn Campbell.
SUU then scored the next two points to take 20-17 lead but UVU came right back with five unanswered points of its own to go up 22-20. From there, the T-Birds did all they could to comeback and put the match away in four but the Wolverines wouldn't go down that easily as the match needed a few extra points to declare a victor. With the match tied at 27-all, UVU scored the next two points to win the set 29-27 and force a fifth and decisive set.
In the fifth and final set, the match continued its tight trend as both teams battled back and forth early on. SUU then went on a run and went ahead by four at 8-4. SUU then took its largest lead of the set at 11-6 but UVU managed to score the next four to get within on at 11-10. Following a timeout by the T-Birds, SUU rallied to score the next two and take a 13-10 advantage.
UVU then got within one at 13-12 following a block by freshman Brooklyn Campbell and senior Dani Robison. The Wolverines continued the late comeback by scoring two of the next three to take a set-point advantage at 15-14. The match continued though as SUU battled back and tied it at 16-all. The Wolverines then went up 18-17 on a senior Kayli Doxey kill and put the match away with a powerful kill from junior Jaicee Kuresa.
In a very tightly contested first set, SUU squeaked out its first all-time set victory over the Wolverines by a score of 27-25. In a set that saw 14 ties and seven lead changes, the T-Birds put the set away by scoring four of the final five points. SUU was led by the one, two punch of Analaine Pelaez and Kylie Schofield who each had six kills in the set. The Wolvserines were led by Doxey who also connected on six kills.
The second set was a different story however, as the home Wolverines went up early and took their largest lead on SUU 15-6. UVU really seemed gain momentum in the set as they went on to win it by a score of 25-17 and tie the scoreboard at one set apiece. Doxey topped UVU with kills in the set with four, while freshman Lindsay Barker tallied three off of the bench. In a stark contrast from the first set, UVU led from start to finish in the second.
In the third set SUU bounced right back as it took an early 9-3 advantage. From there the Wolverines played catch-up the rest of the set. UVU got within three at 14-11 on a Doxey kill but that was as close as they Wolverines would get in the set as SUU went on to win, 25-17.
Doxey , the reigning Great West Player of the Week, led UVU with 21 kills, while Barker put up a career best of 11. Campbell had a huge night as well as she finished with 47 assists and senior Kathleen Stevens led in the digs department with 27. Robison and Kuresa also had huge nights for UVU as they each tallied nine kills and Robison posted a match-high eight blocks, while Kuresa finished with seven.