Volleyball: Utes to compete in Missouri Invitational

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Members of the U volleyball team align themselves before the serve in the 2015 Utah Classic against the Idaho State Bengals in the Jon M. Huntsman Center, Friday, August 28, 2015.

The Utah volleyball team (2-1) will be competing in its second tournament of the season this weekend at the Missouri Invitational in Columbia, Missouri.

Utah began with Rice (1-2) on Friday at 12:30 p.m. MT, before playing the host, the Missouri Tigers (3-0) at 5:30 p.m. MT. In the Utes’ final match of the weekend they will face the Illinois State Redbirds (1-2) at 3 p.m. MT.

The Utes are returning to action after a 2-1 performance at last week’s Utah Classic at the Hunstman Center. Utah defeated Idaho State (25-17, 25-11, 25-22) to open the season on Friday, however, the Utes fell to Gonzaga in five sets (24-26, 24-26, 25-19, 27-25, 15-17) in Saturday’s morning match. The Utes wouldn’t let the loss affect them and they answered back with a four-set win over Butler (25-21, 25-17, 21-25, 25-9) in the tournament finale.

“We’re just working on some different things [this week],” said head coach Beth Launiere. “We worked on a lot of offense last week, and it showed up in our offensive numbers. Our block needed work this week and defense, so we worked a lot on that and improved. Right now, anything we work on we will improve.”

Senior libero Tess Sutton was impressive in the backrow for the Utes last weekend, collecting 48 total digs, including a 21-dig match against Butler.

Middle blocker Berkeley Oblad led Utah with a .481 hitting percentage through the Utah Classic, and she set a new career-high with 14 kills against Gonzaga. Oblad also tied a career-high with seven total blocks against Gonzaga, and she finished the tournament with 12 total blocks.

Utah’s school record holder for most kills in a single-season, Adora Anae, has been dominant all over the court for the Utes, collecting a pair of double-doubles last weekend, including a 20-kill and 18-dig performance against Butler. Anae put up similar statistics in the morning match against Gonzaga gaining 19 kills and 24 digs earlier that day.

Freshman Bailey Choy shared her excitement for being entered into the starting lineup so quickly.

“It’s an amazing experience, I didn’t really expect [to start], but I am so happy to have this opportunity to play with all of these wonderful girls, who have already taught me so much,” Choy said.

Choy clinched her first career double-double with 10 digs and a team-high 43 assists Saturday night against Butler. Choy will be looking to continue to set up her teammates this weekend against tougher competition at the Missouri Invitational.

Launiere shared a lineup adjustment regarding Carly Trueman, whose 13 kill performance against Butler was a key factor in the Utes’ victory.

“We made a pretty major [adjustment], we moved Carly back over to the left side after playing over there last spring,” Launiere said. “She had a great week of practice, and we are really excited about that.”

@ArmenMShrikian

a.shrikian@dailyutahchronicle.com

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