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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Volleyball loses kill-heavy matches

By Bubba Brown

A trip to sunny California turned sour for the Ute volleyball team as they dropped both matches of the Santa Clara Tournament to No. 25 Arizona and host Santa Clara.

Utah was swept by Santa Clara on Saturday night to end a forgettable weekend for the Utes. The match began well with a kill from senior middle blocker Chelsey Sandberg that got Utah on the scoreboard first. The Broncos scored the next three points before Utah retook the lead with a 9-4 run that included a kill and a service ace from Sandberg, as well as a kill by sophomore outside hitter Jennifer Lanting. Santa Clara then went on a run to take an advantage at 13-11 and extended its lead to 23-16.

Down, 24-17, the Utes were able to score three straight points on three kills by senior outside hitter Cinthia Silva to make the set close, but it wasn’t enough as the Broncos closed out the set on the next point. The following set was back-and-forth, as junior opposite hitter Karolina Bartkowiak collected four kills early on. With the set tied at 15, Sandberg registered a kill and a block to give Utah a 17-15 lead. The Broncos scored six of the next eight points to take a 21-19 lead. The Utes were unable to slow the Broncos as Santa Clara put the finishing touches on the second set by scoring the last four points to win the set 25-21.

The third set was similarly tough for the Utes. They kept pace early in the set and tied the set at 11 with a kill by Sarah Hibbert. The Broncos went on a 9-4 run to take a 20-15 edge. Utah was unable to mount another threat with the Broncos finishing off the match 25-17.
Coach Beth Launiere said her team played well for spurts, but fell victim to cold defensive streaks.

“We played pretty well for a lot of the match,” she said. “We got into a rut of not being able to get stops again.”

On Friday, Utah fell victim to a slow start that turned into a quick end for the Utes. Tied at six in the first set, Arizona used five kills from Tiffany Owens to win 25-16 and put the Utes on the wrong end of a lop-sided affair. The Utes jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the second set with a kill by Sandberg, but the momentum gained in the first set continued for Arizona. It scored 14 of the next 19 points en route to another easy 25-16 set victory. The third set was close early, as the Utes used kills by sophomore outside hitter Sarah Hibbert and Bartkowiak to tie it at six. However, the Wildcats rattled off eight straight points to take a commanding 14-6 lead. The Utes were unable to mount a comeback and ultimately fell in the third set 25-18.

“We have to develop and mature as a team and start playing with more control and confidence,” Launiere said. “We’re playing pretty good volleyball but we let the other team dictate what is going on too much. We do well when we have success, but we have to figure out how to play tougher and stronger when we’re struggling. We have a lot of good pieces to work with but we have to put it all together.”

Bartkowiak finished with a team-high eight kills for the Utes, while Hibbert added six kills.
The Utes return to Crimson Court on Tuesday to face No. 12 Oregon.

Lennie Mahler

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