Karolina Bartkowiak posted a team-high 13 kills and collected 10 digs against New Mexico for her 13th double-double this season.
Nov. 18, 2010
SALT LAKE CITY - Four different Utes, Karolina Bartkowiak, Morgan Odale, Danielle Killpack and Erin Redd, all turned in double-digit-kill performances but the University of Utah volleyball team dropped a four-set decision to New Mexico (24-26, 25-19, 23-25, 18-25) Thursday at Crimson Court.
Utah (14-14, 8-5 MWC) outhit New Mexico (19-8, 11-3 MWC), .206 to .163, and featured a balanced attack throughout the match with four Utes in double-figures, but the Utes were unable to secure a victory.
"It's a game of ebbs and flows," Utah head coach Beth Launiere said. "We have to make plays, be consistent and stay confident. Every match is going to be that way. New Mexico is too good of a team so I knew when we had a lead in the first set that we still had to battle, but we started making too many unforced errors and gave up too many points."
The Ute attack was led by 13 kills from Bartkowiak, who took 34 swings and only committed three errors for a .294 hitting percentage. She also turned in 10 digs for her 13th double-double this season and the 25th of her career.
Odale and Killpack both registered 11 apiece. Odale only had three errors on the attack as well, going for a .308 hitting percentage on 26 swings and added 10 digs for her eighth double-double performance this season. Killpack was just one kill shy of tying her career high in kills and took 21 attempts and had a pair of attack errors for a team-high .429 hitting percentage. Redd hit for 10 kills and redshirt freshman Brooke McAlister registered nine to go with two digs and two blocks.
Utah senior setter Stephanie Neeley set up 45 Ute kills and currently ranks fifth in school history with 2,967 career helpers. She completed the double-double with 10 digs and now has 29 over her career and 15 this season.
Ute libero Keisha Fisher posted a team-high 17 digs in the match and now has 1,557 career digs, which is 15 shy of passing Connie Dangerfield (2003-07) for the school record. Fisher has at least 10 digs in 13 of her last 14 matches and now has 85 double-figure-dig performances in her career. She has led or tied for the team high 22 times this season.
Defensively at the net, Killpack came up with a team-high four blocks while Redd added three.
Utah took seven of the first 10 points of the first set, including Bartkowiak three kills put down by Bartkowiak. The Utes would lead by as many as 10 points (21-11) before a furious 12-2 run by the Lobos cut Utah's lead to a single point. A McAlister kill brought the Utes to match point but New Mexico responded by taking the final four points of the set to earn a 26-24 victory. The Utes outhit the Lobos in the set, .225 to .143, in the opening set. Bartkowiak had five kills in the opener and Fisher had six digs but the Utes fell to 4-9 after losing the first set this season, including a 2-4 mark in league play in such scenario.
"Losing set one with the lead that we built was not a good start," Launiere said. "New Mexico is too good of a team for us to give up something that we just earned. Statistically we out-hit them, but we just can't give up big leads like that."
Once again, the Utes led by as many as 10 points (21-11) in the second and New Mexico was again able to close the gap to four points (22-18). Fortunately, Utah finished the set strong by taking three of the last four points en route to a 25-19 second-set win. Utah received a team-high four kills from McAlister the set as the Utes once again outhit the Lobos in the set, .250 to .056, and held a 3-1 edge in team blocks.
The Utes used a quick start once again by taking four of the first five points before the Lobos came back to tie the set at five points apiece and would climb to a 7-5 lead. Utah fought to tie the set for the first and only time (8-8), but UNM went on a 6-2 run and would lead by as many as seven points (20-13) before going on to a 25-23 win. Bartkowiak had another five-kill set to help the Utes outhit the Lobos, .200 to .175. Fisher registered six more digs from her back row position in the third frame.
Utah trailed by no more than four through the first half of the fourth set, but New Mexico was able to extend its one-point lead to five via a 4-1 run that gave them a 20-15 edge and control of the decisive set. The Lobos hit .300 in the finale, compared to a .158 mark for the Utes. Odale registered four kills while Neeley dished out 11 assists for the Utes in the frame.
New Mexico (19-8, 11-3 MWC) received a match-high 20 kills from Lisa Meeter, who turned in a double-double after being credited with 13 digs. Allison Buck contributed a match-high 24 digs.
The Utes conclude their regular-season home schedule Saturday at 1 p.m. against TCU. Utah will honor its three seniors, Bartkowiak, Fisher and Neeley, before they play their final match at Crimson Court.