Sydney Anderson set an attack that finished hitting .455 against New Mexico.
Nov. 23, 2006
LAS VEGAS - The No. 9-ranked and No. 1-seeded University of Utah volleyball team (26-2 overall) advanced to the Mountain West Conference semifinals tonight with a 3-0 win over the No. 8-seeded New Mexico Lobos. With the win, Utah advances to a second-round date with UNLV. First serve is set for 4 p.m. (PST).
The victory set the conference record for consecutive wins as Utah stretched its current winning streak to an impressive 24 straight matches. The win also sets the school record for wins in a season.
Game scores tonight were 30-16, 30-16 and 30-18 as UNM falls to 10-20 on the year.
" It was a goal of ours to come out and play that well," said head coach Beth Launiere. "We've had a problem lately of coming out and starting slow.
"Upsets are what tournaments are all about. Lower seeds have the motivation to win and our team is aware of that. It's something you have to be prepared for when you begin tournament play. And, I think it's something our team is prepared for."
Utah hit a season-high .455 (52-6-101) and chalked up an impressive 11 aces to only five errors in the win. Leading the Utes was the 14-kill, .452 (14-0-31) effort of Airial Salvo and the 12-kill, .667 (12-0-18) outing of Lori Baird.
Emillie Toone also had a solid offensive outing, tallying six kills on .750 (6-0-8) hitting.
Defensively, Utah held the 8-2 edge in team blocks and held the Lobos to just .125 (30-16-112) hitting. They never hit above .179 (9-4-28) in any of the three games. Leading the defense was Toone's five-block match. Salvo helped out with four and Whitney Webb had three. Robison and Connie Dangerfield led the team from the back row, tallying 10 digs each.
Leading the Lobos tonight were Jeanne Fairchild and Kelly Therkelsen (seven kills each), Sarah Kwasigroch (26 assists) and Gayle Tripp (11 digs). Three Lobos chalked up one block each.
Games one and two were identical as Utah jumped out to 4-1 leads in both frames. The lead in game one swelled to 17-7, and to 16-6 in game two. Utah hit .536 (18-3-28) in game one and .419 (19-1-43) in game two as it cruised to a pair of 14-point wins and to a 2-0 lead heading into the break. Utah finished the first two games hitting an impressive .465.
Game three saw Utah spot UNM its first lead of the match. The Lobos jumped out to a 3-0 lead but the Utes went on a 4-0 run to take the 4-3 lead. Three ties later (the last at 6-6), Utah took the 7-6 lead and never looked back. That lead stretched to 18-9 as Utah cruised to the three-game sweep.
Earlier in the afternoon: No.3-seeded Colorado State topped No. 6 TCU, 3-1; No. 7 San Diego State upset No. 2 Brigham Young, 3-2; and No. 4 UNLV swept No. 5 Wyoming, 3-0.
The championship tournament begins again tomorrow with its semifinal matches. Colorado State will play San Diego State at 1 p.m. (PST) with Utah playing afterwards.