LOGAN — Utah Valley fell in straight sets to Utah State in non-conference action Tuesday night at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan (12-25, 18-25, 15-25). The loss snapped UVU's (11-11, 5-2 WAC) three-match winning streak versus Utah State (11-7, 4-3 MWC) that dated back to the 2009 season.
"Utah State played an exceptional match," head coach Sam Atoa said. "There are certain challenges that we faced in the match that we feel like we can be better at and that we will be better at in the future. It was just a struggle for us tonight."
The Wolverines found themselves trailing by just two points in the opening stages of the first set at 8-6, but the Aggies scored seven of the next eight points to take a 15-7 advantage. Utah State added to its lead from there as it took the opener by 13 points. USU was aided by seven Wolverine errors in the set.
The Aggies maintained the hot hand in the second set as they quickly doubled up UVU at 10-5. Utah State then stretched its lead to as many as 12 (19-7) after a 7-2 run.
Later in the second set trailing 22-11, the Wolverines tried to overcome the commanding deficit with a 7-2 run of their own, but it wasn't enough as the Aggies put the frame away at 25-18.
Utah State burst out to an early lead in the third set by scoring eight of the first nine points to take an 8-1 advantage. With UVU later trailing 15-6, it scored three straight points to pull within striking distance at 15-9, thanks to kills from freshman Kelcee Munk and senior Katie Fritzler, as well as a block assist from Fritzler and senior Brookelyn Hall. That was as close as the Wolverines would get the rest of the set, however, as the Aggies quickly responded to close out the match in straight sets.
Utah State, which never trailed in the match, outhit and outblocked UVU .371 - .072 and 10.5 - 6, respectively.
Despite the loss, Hall filled up the stat sheet for the Wolverines with 20 assists, nine digs, four kills and four blocks. Junior McKenna Tait too played well as she recorded 12 digs and an ace, while Fritzler and juniors Kalani Norris and Cassie Wahlin added five kills apiece.
Elle Brainard led USU in the match with 12 kills, while Rachel Orr added 10. Paige Neves also dished out a match-high 40 assists for the Aggies.
The contest marked Utah Valley's first non-conference outing in nearly a month and its fourth in-state match of the season.
The Wolverines now return to Orem to begin a five-match home stand against WAC foes Texas-Pan American and New Mexico State this weekend. UVU will welcome UTPA to the PE Building on Thursday and the first-place NM State Aggies on Saturday. Both matches will begin at 7 p.m.
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit www.WolverineGreen.com.
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