The Utes defeated Yale, 3-1, on Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Dec. 6, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Four Utes reached double-figures in kills and the University of Utah volleyball team defeated Yale (27-29, 25-15, 26-24, 25-16) on Friday in an NCAA Tournament First-Round match in Rec Hall.
Utah (21-12) outhit Yale for the match, .342-.226, and outblocked the Bulldogs, 12.0-8.0, to go with a 70-64 edge in digs. The first NCAA Tournament win for the program since 2008 gives the Utes an 11-10 all-time record in the tournament during their 11 appearances.
"It was a typical Utah match for us," Utah Head Coach Beth Launiere said. "We just had to grind it out tonight. We started out pretty tight in the match, but once we settled down, we played some pretty good volleyball. We ended up hitting .342, which is a nice offensive match. We struggled at times to slow Yale down. I thought they hit very aggressively and we didn't really have an answer for No. 11 (Yale's Kelly Johnson). It was a pretty typical match for us, and I was pleased with it. "
Junior outside hitter Chelsey Schofield tallied a team-high 15 kills and 12 digs for her 14th double-double in 2013 and the 35th of her career. She entered the match with 995 career kills and became the 15th member of Utah's 1,000-kill club. She now has 16 double-figure-kill efforts this season and 58 over her career and she has had 10 or more digs in 25 matches this season and 56 during her career. The Provo, Utah native also served a pair of aces.
Junior outside hitter Makenzie Moea'i registered a season-high .625 hitting percentage with 11 kills on 16 attempts with just one error for her sixth double-digit-kill effort of the year. She also contributed four blocks.
"This is the biggest offensive night that she's had in a while," Launiere said. "She's usually not the one that we call on the most, but she was hot and we went with her for a long time. Shelby Dalton comes up with big plays time and time again, and out two left sides had good set distribution."
Senior outside hitter Morgan Odale turned in her 10th double-double on the year (31st of her career) as she had 12 digs and 11 kills. She now has 19 double-figure-dig efforts in 2013 and 54 during her career to go with 14 outings of 10 or more kills this season and 66 during her career as a Ute.
Junior middle blocker Bailey Bateman came up with a match-high seven blocks and added seven kills on a .294 efficiency.
Freshman libero Tess Sutton tallied a team-high 17 digs and has now had 10 or more digs, which was her third consecutive and her 10th of this season.
Junior setter Kalee Kirby coordinated the Ute attack with 31 assists and seven digs, while sophomore setter Kendall Cygan handed out 22 assists to go with 11 digs for her 10th double-double in 2013 and the 13th of her Ute career.
After Yale took the first point of the match, the Utes reeled off three straight points to jump to a 3-1 lead. The Bulldogs responded promptly with three straight scores to tie the set for the second time at four points apiece. The set would be tied four more times, the last coming at 11 all, before a 3-0 Yale run gave Utah a 14-11 edge. The Utes would trail by as many as five (22-17) before six straight scores gave them a 23-22 advantage, but the set would be tied five more times (23, 24, 25, 26, 27) en route to a 29-27 first-set victory. Redd-Brandon had six kills on eight swings with only one error for a .625 hitting percentage, while Sutton added six digs. The Utes improved to 6-11 this season in matches in which they dropped the first set.
"No, [the team] was not really [bothered after the first set," Launiere said. "They knew that they were tight and they knew they needed to settle in. They felt confident, and we've lost a lot of first sets this year, so I don't think we were too fazed by it."
There were a pair of ties early in the second frame before Utah edged out to a 6-5 and would take three of the next four points to assume a 9-6 advantage. The Utes would build their lead to as many as seven (16-9) after a 6-1 spurt and would go on to a 25-15 second-set victory. The Utes hit .419 in the set, compared to .143 for Yale, while Utah held a 4.0-0.0 advantage in team blocks. Moea'i and Schofield had four kills apiece, while Bateman had three blocks.
The Utes took the first two points of the third frame before action was even at three points apiece before Utah took three of the next four points to grab a 6-4 lead and would push its lead to as many as four (15-11). Yale took the next four points to cut Utah's deficit to a point (16-15) and would re-tie the set for the second time (17-17). Play would be tied seven more times (18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24), but the Utes took the final two points of the frame after a Dalton kill and block by Dalton and Bateman for a 26-24 victory. Odale and Dalton each hit four kills apiece to help the Utes earn a .317-.220 edge in hitting percentage.
Utah claimed the first three points of the fourth set, but Yale fought back to knot the set three more times, the last coming at 9-9. Three straight Ute points gave them a 12-9 advantage before their lead would be cut to one, 16-15. Utah then reeled off eight consecutive points to assume a 24-15 lead on the way to clinching the match with a 25-16 win in the fourth frame. Odale, Dalton and Schofield each registered three kills apiece, while the Ute defense held Yale to a .069 hitting percentage thanks to two blocks apiece from Bateman, Dalton and Redd-Brandon. The Utes went for a .333 clip in the finale.
Yale (20-5) was led by a 16-kill, .500 (16-2-28) performance by Kelly Johnson, who secured the double-double with 10 digs.
Utah will take on the winner of the Long Island Brooklyn/Penn State match tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. ET in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Rec Hall. Visit gopsusports.com for links to live video and stats.