Senior outside hitter Morgan Odale was named MVP of the 2013 Utah Classic.
Aug 31, 2013
Northern Iowa Match Photo Gallery by Leo Hopf
SALT LAKE CITY - Junior right-side hitter Shelby Dalton hit a team-high 13 kills and had a match-high-tying six blocks as the University of Utah volleyball team beat Northern Iowa in four sets (17-25, 25-19, 25-18, 25-18) to cap the Utah Classic on Saturday night at the Huntsman Center.
Utah (3-0) hit .305 for the match, compared to a .216 hitting efficiency for UNI, and the Utes racked up 10.5 blocks on the Panthers.
"That was a big win for us because Northern Iowa is a good team," Utah Head Coach Beth Launiere said. "They have such a rich, great tradition in that program. They know how to win. They are just a great program. They are young, but they played great defense. Everyone played good defense in this tournament. We started off tight in that match in the first set, but we were able to break loose and were able to take things away from them. Our setters did a nice job of exploiting their smaller blockers. That really was what got it turned around for us. We started getting kills over their smaller blockers. Overall, I am very happy. Playing three matches against three quality teams isn't easy."
Dalton, who was named to the Utah Classic All-Tournament Team, registered a team-high 13 kills came on 33 swings with three errors for a .303 hitting percentage, while her six blocks tied with junior middle blocker Bailey Bateman for match-high honors.
Junior Chelsey Schofield turned in her first double-double of the season with 11 kills and 11 digs.
All-Tournament selection and senior middle blocker Erin Redd had nine kills and four blocks. Junior outside hitter Makenzie Moea'i hit with a .444 efficiency for nine kills on 18 attempts and one error.
Junior Lea Adolph claimed the libero spot on the all-tournament team after registering 23 digs.
Senior outside hitter Morgan Odale was named Utah Classic MVP after going for six kills, five digs and two blocks.
"It feels good," Launiere said. "Whenever I win something, I just think about my teammates. I couldn't have done any of it without them so it's kind of like MVP for all of us. I am more excited about how we won the whole tournament."
"Both Morgan and Erin did a really nice job," Launiere said. "[Odale] was especially crucial this morning when we were struggling. She was the steadfast one. They both just provided great leadership. You just can't put a value on seniors. You just can't. They're hungry, they're prepared. They know it's their last season and they are providing great leadership.
"Shelby quietly goes off for 13 kills. Makenzie turned it on and Schofield had a better match. We do have a lot of weapons. That was the best and most consistent play over two days by Adolph that she's had in her career."
The Utes claimed two of the first three points to open the match, but the set would be tied six more times before a 6-2 UNI run allowed the Panthers to distance themselves and build a comfortable lead en route to a 25-17 win to open the match. Dalton had three kills and Schofield chipped in three digs.
"I thought we just loosened up after that set," Launiere said. "I thought our team felt a little tense going into the match and I think we put a lot more pressure on ourselves than we needed to. After the first game, we just decided to play our game. We focused on us and it turned everything around."
Utah took the three of the opening four points of the second set and would go on to earn its largest lead of the match, a nine-point margin (13-4), thanks to a 9-1 spurt by the Utes. UNI responded with a 5-1 stretch but Utah was able to work its way back to a seven-point advantage (18-11) and carry that momentum to a 25-19 second-set victory to even the match. Utah limited UNI to a .056 hitting percentage in the frame, while Schofield had four more kills and Bateman added three.
The third set saw the Utes grab the first two points and would assume an 8-3 advantage. Utah's lead would extend to as many as nine (21-12) forcing the second UNI timeout of the frame. The Utes would maintain their edge and would come away with a 25-18 victory. Dalton pounded seven kills and the Utes hit for a .436 percentage in addition to a 3.5-2.0 edge in team blocks over the Panthers in the frame.
There were three ties to begin the fourth frame, but Utah would inch out to a 6-3 advantage. The Utes would hold onto is slight lead until the set was at 14-12, but three consecutive scores gave Utah a 17-12 lead on the way to a 25-18 match-clinching victory.
Northern Iowa (1-2) was led by the duo of Shelby and Courtney Kintzel, who both had 13 kills apiece.
Utah hits the road for the first time next weekend as the Utes head to Denton, Texas for the North Texas Tournament on Friday, Sept. 6 and Saturday, Sept. 7.