Volleyball hopes close wins will help on the road

By By Bubba Brown

By Bubba Brown

It’s all the same in the win column

The Utah volleyball team is starting to make a habit of close wins. Five of the team’s past six wins have been tight, with three going to a fifth set. Even the two that haven’t gone the distance have been close. Utah’s 3-1 win over TCU included three sets that came down to two points, and the four-set victory over Weber State had two sets decided by two points. The only blowout in this stretch of games was the Utes’ road sweep over UNLV.

After the Utah volleyball team stayed in character by barely getting a five-set, come-from-behind victory over BYU on Friday, head coach Beth Launiere said playing in close games is her team’s style.

“We haven’t dominated a team this season,” Launiere said. “But when we get down, we’re tough.”

Conference update
The Utes entered the week two games behind Colorado State, a team that was undefeated in conference with only eight games left to play. They ended the week in control of their own destiny. Colorado State’s 3-0 loss Thursday at the hands of TCU, combined with Utah’s win over BYU, puts the Utes just one game behind the Rams in the loss column. No matter what Colorado State does against the other teams in the conference, Utah will have a chance to force at least a tie by winning its remaining matches and beating Colorado State when it comes to Utah on Nov. 12.

Launiere said the Utes need to keep focusing on themselves even though the path will be difficult.

“We’ve got a lot of tough road matches,” Launiere said. “We’ve got to win a whole bunch.”
The Utes lost on the road in straight sets to the Rams in their last meeting.

Crushing the Cougs
Including Friday’s win over BYU, the Utes have now scored victories over their rivals in 12 of the past 15 matches between the schools, including four straight. The last time the Utes fell to the Cougars was Oct. 12, 2007, in a five-set loss at Crimson Court.

Beating BYU means more than a win against another conference opponent, said senior outside hitter Cinthia Silva.

“It’s BYU,” she said. “They are our rivals.”

Next up
Utah will return home to the friendly confines of Crimson Court after a three-match road trip with a matchup against UNLV on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Utes swept the Rebels at UNLV earlier in the year. The Utes gained momentum with their win Friday at BYU, but Silva said she does not expect it to carry over to the match against the Rebels.

“I think the momentum could have helped us more if we had a match the next day or in two days,” Silva said. “But with not playing for a week between matches, I think it is over.”

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