Volleyball splits first two conference games

The wheels completely came off the U volleyball team in the final game of its match against Colorado State Saturday.

The Utes (7-6, 1-1) lost the match, 30-25, 30-27, 28-30, 30-15 and split the opening weekend of conference play as they defeated Wyoming (10-6, 0-2) 30-24, 34-32, 30-26 Friday.

“I am not displeased with the way we played [against Colorado State] because there were some points where we played some good volleyball,” U volleyball coach Beth Launiere said.

“But the thing we need to work on is sustaining that play throughout the match and if we don’t do that, the other team jumps on us,” she said.

Even though Launiere wasn’t completely displeased with the team’s play, problems that have affected the Utes throughout the year came up again this weekend.

The setting issues which have been a major question all year long continued to be a problem in the match against Colorado State, and Launiere did not know what to do.

“I have no comment on our setting situation,” Launiere said.

Once again, setter Kelsie Kartchner was benched after the team lost the first two games and Tracy Neumeier did a nice job in the third game.

“Tracy ran a nice, cool and disciplined game,” Launiere said.

Neumeier led the team with 30 assists while Kartchner tallied 15.

But it wasn’t enough.

Colorado State scored points in bunches throughout the match, which was enough to break the Utes’ backs.

“It’s tough when you are allowing Colorado State to keep scoring a lot of points in a row,” Launiere said.

After losing the first game, the Utes were going back and forth in the second game until the Rams scored seven-straight points and went on to win the game.

In the final game, everything went wrong for the Utes while everything went right for the Rams.

Colorado State recorded seven blocks alone in the fourth game, which was a direct result of the poor passing by the Utes.

“When you can’t pass the ball and find the setter, then it is really easy to get blocked,” Launiere said.

The attack percentage of .103 was pitiful for the Utes, and the poor offensive performance could also be attributed to the good service game of the Rams.

“They served the ball really well and it took us out of our offense,” Launiere said.

On the defensive side, the Utes only recorded eight total team blocks, which was a major reason for the blowout in the final game, as the Rams were scoring at will.

“We need to learn how to block,” Launiere said. “We have the size, but we just can’t get it done,” Launiere said.

Against the Cowgirls, the Utes played a much better brand of volleyball. The Utes had an attack percentage of .301 and senior Kim Turner dominated the game with 17 kills.

The Utes still had blocking problems, as they only recorded nine, but it was better than the performance they had in four games against the Rams.

In order to replicate the success the Utes have had in the past couple of years in the conference, the setting issues will have to be resolved very quickly.

The Utes’ next test will be the this weekend as they hit the road against New Mexico and Air Force.

[email protected]