Go Utes!
Go Utes!

Sept. 25, 1997

Utes Overwhelm New Mexico to Open WAC Season

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The Utah volleyball team dominated one of its biggest rivals to open the Western Athletic Conference season, defeating New Mexico in four games on Thursday night at The Pit.

After a hard-fought first game, which the Lobos won 16-14, the Utes set the tome for the rest of the match in game two by outhitting the Lobos .455 to -.091 for a 15-4 win. Utah came back with more of the same in the third and four games, winning 15-8, 15-7, holding UNM to a sub .100 hitting percentage.

Utah (10-3, 1-0 WAC) outhit New Mexico (6-7, 0-1 WAC) for the match .297 to .114. The Utes also outdug the Lobos, perennially one of the top defensive teams in the nation, 63 to 57.

It was the ninth-consecutive victory for the Utes, which is the third-longest winning streak in school history.

The middle blockers stepped up big for the Utes. Stacie Greenwalt had 16 kills, five blocks and hit .433. Freshman Kalani Tonga had 14 kills, seven digs, four blocks and hit .478. Brenda Barton-Whicker had 13 kills, 14 digs and five blocks. Jamie Young had a match-high 15 digs.

Amber Smith posted 15 kills to lead New Mexico, while Jenny Pavley had 11 kills and seven digs.

"It was a sweet win for us," said Ute head coach Beth Launiere. "The key to match was Stacie Greenwalt. She played huge for us and absolutely dominated the net.

"After losing to them three times last year, it was nice to get a win. Getting a win on the road is also a nice way to start the WAC season."

Utah continues WAC play at UTEP on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.

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