SEATTLE — Utah Valley University had its five-match winning streak snapped by Seattle University in Western Athletic Conference play Saturday night at the Connolly Center. Despite an early lead in the fifth set, the Wolverines couldn't complete the comeback as they dropped the five-set thriller to the Redhawks (22-25, 25-14, 25-27, 25-23, 13-15).
The loss marks UVU's first in its new conference after it began its WAC era with a five-set victory at Idaho on Thursday night. UVU drops to 7-9 overall and 1-1 in conference play with the defeat, while SU improves to 4-13 overall and 1-1 the WAC.
"We felt like we had good control early in the fifth set but we made a few too many uncharacteristic mistakes there at the end and they cost us," head coach Sam Atoa said. "There's nobody to blame but us. You've also got to hand it to Seattle though, they played just a little bit better than we did."
Despite the loss, three players finished in double figures in kills and all hit over .300 for the Wolverines in the match. Freshman Macky Treanor led the way with 19 kills while junior Kalani Norris added 17 and sophomore Lauren Stringham chipped in 12. Norris led the trio in hitting as she hit .414, while Treanor followed at .375 and Stringham at .321.
After finding itself on the wrong end of the scoreboard in the first set, UVU used a 4-0 run to break a 6-6 tie and take a 10-6 advantage in set two. The Wolverines controlled the set from there, as they doubled up the Redhawks at 20-10 and led by as many as 12 down the stretch. Treanor led the Wolverines with six kills in the set.
In a tightly contest third set that saw 11 ties and four lead changes, Utah Valley fell behind by three at the end of the frame (23-20). UVU answered right back, however, by scoring the next three points to tie the score at 23-all. A Treanor kill later gave the Wolverines a 25-24 advantage, but UVU couldn't put the set away as the Redhawks scored the next three points to take a 2-1 advantage in the match.
The Wolverines pulled ahead early in the fourth set, but SU chipped away at the deficit and managed to tie the score at 11-11. The set remained tight the rest of the way and despite trailing 22-20, UVU reeled off four unanswered late points that were capped off by back-to-back aces from junior McKenna Tait to pull ahead at 24-22. Two points later, Stringham drilled home the final kill to help UVU tie the match at 2-2. Stringham led the Wolverines in the set with five kills and a pair of blocks.
Another pair of aces from Tait in the opening stages of the fifth set helped Utah Valley jump out to a quick 6-2 advantage over Seattle U. The Redhawks chipped away from the deficit, however, as they managed to tie it up at 9-all. The final set went back-and-forth from there until SU scored consecutive points on a kill from Kerry Lane and a block from Lane and Stephanie Stoll to take the final set 15-13.
Despite the loss, senior setter Brookelyn Hall had a great match for UVU as she recorded a double-double with 52 assists and 14 digs. Tait too played well as she tallied a team-high 16 digs and five aces.
Iris Ivanis led SU with 19 kills, while Allison Farley chipped in 16.
In the opening set, Seattle U held a 19-16 advantage late in the frame but back came the Wolverines as they scored four of the next five points to tie the frame at 20-all. The Redhawks answered from there, however, as they scored the next two points to take a 22-20 advantage. SU later capitalized on an attack and service error as they took the first set by three points. Despite dropping the opener, Norris led UVU with five kills.
The Wolverines conclude their seven-match road stretch and current week-long conference-opening road trip at Texas-Pan American on Monday night. The contest will mark the 23rd all-time meeting between the two schools but the first as members of the WAC.
"Anytime you lose it makes things more difficult for your next match. There are some challenges that we've got to figure out how to deal with before Monday and we've got to be the better team to respond," Atoa said. "Playing on the road is tough. We've got to be able to regroup and execute better when we get down to Texas."
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.