Utes get swept by Wyoming, start MWC 0-2

By Paige Fieldsted, Staff Writer

LARAMIE, Wyo.8212;It looked as though the combination of high elevation (7,220 feet) and an intense road crowd sucked the life out of the Utah women’s volleyball game.

The Wyoming Cowgirls took advantage of the home court energy and handed the Utes its third-consecutive loss with a 3-0 sweep. It was just the second win of the season for Wyoming and it dropped Utah to 0-2 to start MWC play for the second-consecutive season.

“It’s something about Wyoming,” Athletic trainer Tom Lynch said. “(The U volleyball team) plays bad every time they come here.”

Despite holding a five-game winning streak there, Laramie has typically been a house of errors for the Utes. At the beginning, Utah seemed ready to buck that trend and jumped to an early 7-3 lead. The Utes, however, were unable to hold off the Wyoming attack, led by sophomore Dani Bedore, who slammed down seven kills in the first set alone.

The Cowgirls took the 15-14 lead and never looked back, as a plethora of Utah errors eventually gave them a 25-22 win in game one.
Riding the wave of energy from the first set, the Cowgirls jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the second set and led by as many as seven.

It looked as if the Utes would make a comeback in the second set when they went on a six-point run to take a 16-15 lead.

Utah held onto that lead until three back-to-back errors gave Wyoming the advantage and momentum to finish out the game 25-20.

“We couldn’t get the block going and that gave them the confidence to swing harder,” head coach Beth Launiere said.

Despite posting a .556, one of her highest hitting percentages of the season, senior middle blocker Emillie Toone couldn’t lead her team out of the hole they dug for themselves in the first two sets against the Cowgirls, as the Utes dropped the third game as well to get swept in by Laramie for the first time since 2002.

“They came out with a lot of energy and we just couldn’t pull together,” Toone said.

Utah looked lifeless and defeated in the third set, allowing the Cowgirls to gain a 7-1 lead and trailing the entire set.

The Utes got within one on several kills, but it was too little too late for Utah as Wyoming eventually pulled away and took the game 25-18.

Even though the Utes out-blocked the Cowgirls nine to six and had five service aces to their one, Wyoming’s dominating offense and scrappy defense gave the home team the edge.

Wyoming posted a .305 hitting percentage, while holding the Utes to a .131 and earned 10 more digs than the Utes.
Utah was led by Toone with 10 kills, two service aces and six blocks.

“They played better than we did and they beat us bad,” Launiere said.
The loss was a sour end to one of the harder annual road trips for the Utes.

“Road games are always tough, especially in the MWC,” Launiere said. “You have to come prepared every game and we just didn’t.”

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