Shelly Sommerfeldt tallies one of her 13 kills in the 3-0 win over CSU tonight.
Nov. 25, 2005
LAS VEGAS - The No. 3-seeded University of Utah volleyball team (21-8 overall) swept its way into the Mountain West Conference Tournament finals in beating Colorado State here tonight, 3-0. It was Utah's first win over CSU in three tries this season.
Game scores were 30-26, 30-23 and 31-29 as No. 2 Colorado State falls to 20-7 for the year.
"I thought we were ready to play tonight," head coach Beth Launiere said. "We talked about coming out tonight and being on the offensive. The last two times we played CSU, we weren't that offensive.
"I think we all prepared well as individuals, have a lot of trust in ourselves right now and are playing well as a team because of it."
The Utes make it to the tournament final for the fifth straight year and are eyeing their third tournament title to compliment their 2001 and 2002 hardware.
The Utes will play the winner of the No.1 Brigham Young/No. 4 UNLV match on Saturday, Nov. 26, at 8 p.m. (PST).
The Utes swept Wyoming in the quarterfinals, 3-0, on Thursday.
"Shelly was big for us," Launiere remarked. "We also knew we needed more offense out of Emillie tonight, and we got it. When Lori (Baird) sprained her ankle, Amie (Tingey) came in, got four blocks and played well for us. But, we really needed Shelly to step it up tonight and she did."
The Utes hit .226 for the night, thanks to efforts of setter Shannon Krug. She handed out 37 assists and helped out on defense with eight digs and five total blocks.
Danielle Leichliter led the Utes from the back row with 14 digs in addition to a pair of aces.
The Utes got off to a sluggish start as they spotted their rivals a 4-0 lead. The Rams held on to that cushion until Utah managed to tie it at 17-17. Utah finally pulled ahead to grab the 23-20 lead. It still held a 28-26 lead when a Sommerfeldt kill and a Krug ace sealed the deal for the Utes.
The onset of game two was a back-and-forth affair as the teams were all square eight times before Utah took a 16-14 lead. A 6-2 run gave Utah a comfortable 22-16 lead and it wouldn't relinquish it. It extended it to as much as eight, 26-18, and cruised to the seven-point win.
Toone shined for the Utes heading into the break after the second game. She had five kills on five swings and six total blocks.
Colorado State didn't go down without a fight as a five-point lead, 20-15, quickly diminished. CSU rallied to tie it at 28 and 29 before back-to-back kills by Sommerfeldt and Webb gave the Utes the extra-point win.
CSU's Tess Rogers led all players with 17 kills while Ashley Fornstrom led with a match-high 46 assists. On defense, Katherine Whitney led the match with 20 digs while Casey Bauer led the Rams with four total blocks.