Ute spikers upset No. 7 CSU on road

Utah volleyball’s season storyline is beginning to get redundant. And it’s exactly what the team wants.

The No. 18 Utes (15-2) set a school record Saturday in Wyoming, winning their 12th consecutive match. But it was the 11th straight victory that caught the most attention.

Friday night in Fort Collins, Colo., Utah knocked off No. 7-ranked Colorado State three games to one, the first win ever for Utah at CSU.

“We have never won there, but we stepped up tonight and met the challenge,” Ute coach Beth Launiere said.

Game scores were 27-30, 30-21, 37-35, and 30-26.

The Utes spread out their attack, with four players tallying at least 12 kills. Shelly Sommerfeldt led the way with 16, followed by Lyndsey Henderson with 15. Liana Bortoto and Kelsie Kartchner both chipped in with 12.

Sticking to Ute custom, Utah out-blocked their opponent 20-10. Amie Toone led the way individually with six blocks.

For CSU, Katie Shirley-Cahoon lived up to her star billing, getting a match- high 18 kills.

The turning point for the evening came in the intense third game. The marathon 37-35 battle featured 17 ties and nine lead changes. Utah would win the game, and hold onto the momentum in fourth game, sending the 3,510 fans at Moby Arena home disappointed.

The loss broke Colorado State’s 13- game winning streak, a run dating all the way back to their second match of the year.

The weekend wasn’t finished for the Utes.

Utah avoided a letdown on Saturday. Coach Launiere was nervous going into Laramie,Wyo., but the Utes overcame a pesky Cowgirl bunch and won the match three games to one.

Game scores were 31-33, 30-28, 34-32, and 30-17.

“It was a hard-fought battle,” said Launiere. “We stayed together as a team in a tough situation.”

Utah’s attack was too much for Wyoming, as they piled up an impressive .376 hitting percentage. Henderson co-led the Utes with 20 kills and a scorching .680 percentage of her own. Sommerfeldt completed a solid two-match weekend with 20 kills as well. The junior from Orem finished the road trip with 36 kills.

Rachel Smith led the Cowgirls with 17 kills, but also committed five service errors.

The Utes return home for a Tuesday night non-conference game with Notre Dame. First serve is slated for 7 p.m. at Crimson Court.

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