Nov. 21, 1997
DALLAS -- Youth served Utah right as its freshmen stepped up to lead the Utes to a four-game Western Athletic Conference win against SMU on Friday night at Moody Coliseum.
Utah took the first two games 15-9, 15-8 and lost the third game 16-14. The Utes closed out the match in dominant fashion, outhitting the Mustangs .438 to .000 and winning game four 15-5.
Kalani Tonga, named the WAC Mountain Division Freshman of the Year this week, played like it with 11 kills, three blocks and a .375 hitting percentage to lead the Utes. Rookie setter Lucie Turkova, starting in place of Graciela Torres, had 40 assists and 9 kills to hit .727 (9-1-11). Freshman Jen Snow posted nine kills and 11 digs.
Senior Brenda Barton-Whicker, a first-team all-WAC selection, had a team-high 13 kills and 10 digs. Middle blocker Stacie Greenwalt, a second-team all-WAC pick, had 10 kills, and hit .400.
Utah outhit SMU .350 to .300, and had 10 blocks to the Mustangs' seven. Utah finishes the regular season at 21-8 overall and 9-5 in the WAC to place fourth in the Mountain Division. SMU finishes 15- 18 overall and in fifth place in the WAC Pacific with a 5-9 mark.
"Our middles played very well," said Ute head coach Beth Launiere. "Kalani (Tonga), in particular, was great. Lucie (Turkova) set the whole match and did very well. It wasn't the most beautiful match to watch, but it was a win. Now we have to breakdown tape and figure out a way beat them again in three days."
The same two teams meet in the first round of the WAC Tournament on Monday at 3:00 p.m. (PST) at the MGM Grand Arena.