Stephanie Neeley (right) and Karolina Bartkowiak both had impressive performances Saturday against Mississippi.
Sept. 4, 2010
EVANSTON, Ill. - After allowing Mississippi to hit .290 in the opening set, the University of Utah volleyball team did not allow the Rebels to hit over .200 in any of the remaining three sets as the Utes defeated Ole Miss, 3-1 (18-25, 25-17, 25-17, 25-19), Saturday at Welsh-Ryan Arena in the third match of the Northwestern Challenge.
Utah (3-2) limited Mississippi to a .135 hitting percentage during the match while going for a .260 on the attack. This was the third consecutive match in which Utah held its opponent under .200. Morehead State hit only .185 against the Utes on Friday and Utah Valley was limited to a .140 mark in a match last Tuesday.
"We were working hard in the first set but it still just wasn't clicking," Utah head coach Beth Launiere said. "Finally, our hard work was starting to pay off. We just started getting into a rhythm, winning long rallies. Our offense was in sync a little more and we started blocking balls. We finally started to get into a flow and let loose then play hard."
The Utes also gained an 8-2 edge in service aces over the Rebels.
"We struggled with five missed serves in the first set," Launiere said. "But we managed to cut down on our errors, started acing them and taking a lot of things away from [Mississippi] defensively. We did a nice job on their block and touching balls"
Senior opposite hitter Karolina Bartkowiak registered 13 kills, six digs and two blocks. Bartkowiak hit for a .455 percentage, including six digs and two blocks.
Senior setter Stephanie Neeley just missed a double-double with 31 assists and nine digs
Morgan Odale recorded her second career double-double with 11 kills and 10 digs. She hit for a .243 hitting percentage and also served a match-high three aces.
Utah trailed 13-12 in the first set but Ole Miss quick went on a 7-2 run to take a commanding 20-14 lead en route to a 25-18 first-set win. Danielle Killpack registered a match-high four kills while Neeley handed out eight assists.
Mississippi took three of the first four points and would eventually lead 7-4, but Utah would piece together a 6-1 spurt to take a 13-10 advantage and eventually would lead by as many as eight points en route to a 25-17 second-set win to even the match at one set apiece. Utah held Ole Miss to a .056 hitting percentage and allowed only eight kills. Morgan Odale had six kills in the second set alone while Bartkowiak and Lanting each had three kills.
The Utes took seven of the first eight points of the third set and stormed out to a 12-5 lead. Utah would never lead by fewer than four points en route to a second consecutive 25-17 set victory. The Utes hit .394 in the set and limited the Rebels to a .200 mark, while Bartkowiak was perfect in the set with six kills on six attempts.
Utah stormed out to a 6-2 lead early in the fourth set and would then go on a 5-1 run to take an 11-4 lead. The Utes would extend their advantage to as many as 12 points (19-7) and would go on to a 25-19 win to clinch the match. Redd contributed a team-high three kills on three swings for a perfect 1.000 percentage in the set, while Morgan Odale, Killpack and Bartkowiak each had two kills apiece.
Mississippi (2-3) was led by Miranda Kitts, who had 12 kills with a .346 hitting percentage to go with three blocks and two digs.
The Utes will conclude the Northwestern Challenge against the host Wildcats tonight at 7 p.m. CT.