Shelly Sommerfeldt's 11 digs led the volleyball team to a first-round win over Air Force in the MWC tournament.
Nov. 18, 2004
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - A trip to the second round of the Mountain West Conference tournament is up next for the No. 1 -seed and No. 19-ranked University of Utah volleyball team after dispensing of the No. 8-seeded Air Force Academy Falcons this afternoon, 3-0.
Game scores were 30-24, 30-21 and 30-17. Utah improves to 22-4 overall while the Air Force Academy wraps up its 2004 campaign with a 4-21 overall slate.
"I was talking to our team before the match and I told our players that we had to execute at a different level than what we played last weekend," head coach Beth Launiere said. "There was pressure on the players and they were tight at the beginning of the match. But, I think that our play got better as the match went on."
"I'm very happy with our team's response (after the CSU loss). I think we came out focused and had the desire to play well. The team did okay but tomorrow we're going to need to play better."
Up next for the Utes is the winner of the UNLV/Wyoming affair. The semifinal match will be tomorrow at 1 p.m. It will air live on CSTV while KUED in Salt Lake City will show it at Midnight.
Utah hit .263 for the match, which was helped by a game-two performance of .483 (19-kills, 5 errors, 29 attempts). Shelly Sommerfeldt led the way with 11 kills and Lyndsey Henderson tallied 10 of her own. Whitney Webb was the most efficient, hitting. 667 (6-0-9).
Defensively, Utah held the Falcons to a .030 hitting percentage, forcing AFA into 20 hitting errors. Henderson's five blocks led all players and Kartchner added three of her own.
The Falcons were led by Lamecca Jefferson and her nine kills while Kimberly Kallabis' 18 assists was also a team-high. Jenalee Burke had a match-best 13 digs and Kristen Hamlett's four blocks led the academy.
Utah jumped out to an early 9-4 lead on the Falcons in game one. But, AFA clawed its way back into the game as the Utes saw their lead shrink to one, 18-17. Utah's largest lead was six points late in the game, 26-20, as the Utes rode out a late Falcon rally for the win.
The Falcons went up early in game two, 4-1, and saw Utah tie the score four times before finally surging past the Falcons to take a 12-10 lead. AFA never let the Utes extend their lead to more than a three points, until a 6-0 run gave Utah the 22-15 favor. Utah cruised to nine-point win.
Despite a back-and-forth game at the onset of the third stanza, Utah outlasted AFA as the Utes cruised to a game three-win. The Utes continuously built on their lead, seeing it grow to as much as 11 points, 26-15. A Tracy Neumeier ace sealed the three-game win for the Utes.