Sophomore Kelsie Kartchner had a career-high five service aces against Wyoming on Thursday.
Nov. 21, 2002
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - Head Coach Beth Launiere got her 250th career victory today when the No. 24 University of Utah women's volleyball team swept Wyoming (32-30, 30-20, 30-25) in the first round of the Mountain West Conference Tournament at Colorado State. The Utes hit for .288 on the game and held the Cowgirls to .157. Utah also out-blocked Wyoming eight to three.
"We were too up and down early on, but once we got going, we played well," Launiere said. "When we're on, we can be really good. I'm hoping to be a little more consistent tomorrow."
In game one, there were 12 ties with no team ever leading by more than four points. Additionally, there were 10 service errors (four by Utah and six by Wyoming) in the game. The Utes rallied from a late four-point deficit (24-28) to tie the game at 29. Junior Taryn Horner entered the game with Utah up 31-30 and served the game point for the Utes. Junior Kim Turner, the MWC Co-Player of the Year, led the Utes with five kills, while junior libero Jackie Morrill had a game-high six digs. Utah hit for .243 on the game compared to the .200 of the Cowgirls.
Wyoming jumped out to a 3-0 lead in game two, but the Utes quickly tied it and took the lead, building it to as many as 10 points after three service aces by sophomore setter Kelsie Kartchner, who also had five digs on the game. The Utes out-hit the Cowgirls .267 to .132 on the game. Turner and seniors Sylva Strzinkova and Brenda Beal had three kills apiece to lead to Utah. Turner also added four blocks.
Game three saw Wyoming lead by as many as four points (8-12). Utah took its first lead at 13-12 on back-to-back Kartchner aces as part of a 12-3 run by the Utes. The Cowgirls scored four straight points late in the game, but their comeback fell short when Utah scored the last two points to win the game.
Kartchner dished out 34 assists to go along with 10 digs and a career-high five service aces. "Kelsie was on fire," Launiere said. "I've never seen her serve that well. She got in a groove and it really helped us."
Strzinkova, who has been bothered by a sore foot, didn't play in the third game. Freshmen Shelly Hundley and Danielle Leichliter rotated in and out instead. Hundley had five kills and hit for .625, while Leichliter finished with two digs. "Shelly and Danielle did great," Launiere said. "It was very encouraging because I feel those two can do the job tomorrow if we need them to."
During the match, both Turner and Kartchner moved into the top 10 in the Ute season statistical records. Turner now ranks sixth in block assists (143) and eighth in total blocks (167), while Kartchner is tied for ninth in service aces (44) and 10th in assists (1,084).
The Utes will face the No. 2 seed San Diego State at 4 p.m. tomorrow, Nov. 22, at Moby Arena on the campus of Colorado State in Fort Collins, Colo.