Sept. 5, 1997
SPOKANE, Wash. - Utah dropped its opening match of Spikeoff Spokane to sixth-ranked Washington State 11-15, 15-2, 15-5, 15-5 on Friday night at the Spokane Arena.
The Utes' middle blockers played solid once again. Freshman Kalani Tonga led the way with 14 kills and three blocks. Sophomore Stacie Greenwalt had 12 kills and four blocks. Outside hitter Sara Shakula posted 11 kills, but hit just .105. Senior outside Brenda Barton-Whicker also struggled offensively, posting nine kills and a negative hitting percentage (-.048).
"Our middles really played well once again,"said Ute head coach Beth Launiere. "I thought that we played pretty solid volleyball overall for the third time in as many matches this season. We're playing some tough competition, and this experience is going to make us better later in the year. In particular, I thought that we served and passed very well in this match."
Utah (1-2) put a scare into Washington State (5-0) early, taking the first game 15-11. The Utes jumped out to a 7-1 lead on an ace by Barton-Whicker. The Cougars rallied to come back within 12-10, but an ace by Graciela Torres and a kill by Sara Shakula put the Utes at game point, 14-10. Washington State sided out Utah two more times and posted another point before double-hitting to hand Utah the 15-11 win.
After dropping the second and third games, Utah jumped out to a 3-1 lead in game four before WSU rattled off a seven-point run to take an 8-3 lead. Washington State won the game 15-5 to take the match.
Match Summary: Washington State defeated Utah 11-15, 15-2, 15-5, 15-5