Volleyball shuts out San Diego

By By Bubba Brown and

By Bubba Brown

The Ute volleyball team continued its run of success against conference foes, beating San Diego State 3-0 Saturday afternoon.

Junior opposite hitter Karolina Bartkowiak had a team-high 12 kills, eight digs and six blocks to help give Utah its 16th straight win against Mountain West Conference competition.

Coach Beth Launiere thought it was as well as the Utes have played all season.

“Obviously, I’m happy that we won,” Launiere said. “But I’m most happy about how we won. That was our most complete match this year. It was our best serving match and not only did (Bartkowiak) have a great performance, but so many other people played their roles. Cinthia (Silva) played well defensively. It was a complete effort and we’re starting to come together as a team.”

The Utes started the match with a kill by senior middle blocker Chelsey Sandberg in the opening set. With Utah leading 4-3, a kill by Bartkowiak began an 8-2 run for the Utes that included two more kills by Bartkowiak, as well as a block and two kills by Sandberg. The Aztecs responded with a run of their own, scoring six consecutive points to pull within one at 12-11. The two teams traded points until a service error by San Diego State’s Lauren Van Orden, a kill by Bartkowiak and a service ace by senior outside hitter Silva gave Utah a 24-20 lead. San Diego State answered with five straight points for a 25-24 edge. A kill by Bartkowiak evened the score, but the Aztecs again took the advantage. Once again, Bartkowiak tied the set with a kill, before she gave the Utes the lead with a block. Utah finished off the set on the next play with an attack error by San Diego State.

The Aztecs struck first in the second set and built a 5-3 lead before Utah used a block by Silva, two Aztec errors and an ace by Bartkowiak to take the lead 7-5. The Aztecs took three of the next four points to tie it at eight, after which the two teams battled back and forth until the score stood at 18-18. A kill and two blocks by Sandberg in addition to an ace by Silva and an Aztec error gave Utah the lead 23-18. The Aztecs scored to stop the 5-0 run, but another block by Sandberg and a kill by Bartkowiak gave Utah the set.

Utah used a 9-0 run early in the third set, which included an ace from Sandberg, to take a 10-1 edge. San Diego State wouldn’t get within striking distance the rest of the way. Utah used seven kills in the set from sophomore outside hitter Sarah Hibbert and closed out the match by taking the set 25-15.

The victory gave Launiere 399 for her Utah career, but after the match she was focused on just the last two, which allowed the team to break out of a cold stretch.

“We definitely needed to get wins under our belt,” Launiere said. “We had been getting better, but were losing those matches.”

Next, the Utes will host rival BYU on Friday at 7 p.m. at Crimson Court.
[email protected]

Richard Payson

Chelsey Sandberg hits the ball past Oregon defenders during tuesday?s game in the Crimson Court. The Utes beat San Deigo Stage in Saturday?s Match 3 – 0