Danielle Leichliter led Utah with 10 digs in the 3-0 win over Air Force tonight.
Sept. 23, 2005
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The University of Utah volleyball team began the defense of its 2004 Mountain West Conference Championship with a 3-0 win at the Air Force Academy tonight. Game scores were 30-21, 30-24 and 30-26.
"It's nice to get the first conference win under our belt," head coach Beth Launiere said. "I think we did a lot nice things tonight. It was a pretty steady match but we came out in game three and were down, 7-2. So, I was happy to see that we were able to come back and get the win.
"But, we've got a tough travel day ahead of us and we have to get back at it and play a very good New Mexico team tomorrow night."
The Utes win their fifth straight match in upping their mark to 9-3 overall and 1-0 in league play. Air Force falls to 4-11 and 0-1.
The offense and defense were in sync tonight as the Utes hit a season-best .347 and held the Falcons to a mere .070, the second lowest average by a Utah opponent this season. It is also the second straight match that Utah held its opponents to under .100 in hitting. They also held the edge in blocks, 10.5-3.
Lori Baird was the top player for Utah. The middle blocker hit an eye-popping .714 in collecting 11 kills to go along with a team-best five total blocks.
Airial Salvo led the way with 16 kills and collected them at a .500 clip. The freshman duo of Baird and Salvo accounted for 27 of the team's 47 kills and combined to hit .575 on the evening. Shelly Sommerfeldt was next with eight kills and eight digs.
Utah never hit worse than .241 among the three games and came out of the shoots hot, hitting .448. The Utes cooled off to hit .351 in game two and a match-low .241 in the final stanza.
Baird led the team in blocks but it was Danielle Leichliter who led the team in digs. She tied for match-high honors in collecting 10 digs.
The Falcons never hit better than .133 in any of the games. It was led by Brooke Akers who netted a match-high 18 kills on .500 hitting. Carly Siefken had 23 assists and 10 digs to lead the Falcons while Rebecca Gallegos' two total bocks were also a team-high.
The Utes return to action tomorrow night when they play at New Mexico. The league match-up is set to start at 7 p.m.