Kat Lovell had a career-high 20 kills in the NCAA win over MSU.
Dec. 1, 2006
LOS ANGELES - The No. 11-ranked University of Utah volleyball team (28-3 overall) had to overcome a 2-1 deficit as it rallied for an NCAA Tournament first-round win over Michigan State here tonight, 3-2. The Utes face the winner of No. 4 UCLA/UAB here tomorrow night at 7 p.m. (PST).
Four Utah spikers had double-doubles as the Utes nabbed the victory on game scores of 30-25, 27-30, 20-30, 30-28 and 15-11. The Spartans fall to 19-12 on the year.
Utah hit .207 for the match, buoyed by the .375 (8-2-16) effort in game five. The Utes got off to a good start in hitting .306 (16-5-36) in the first frame, but hit a mere .131 (16-15-84) in games two and three combined.
While four Utes had double-doubles on the night. It was Kathryn Lovell's 20 kills on .282 (20-9-39) hitting that led the Utes. It was also her free ball on a broken play that ended the match. A diving stab to get the ball over the net went cross court as the Spartans watched it fall, ending their tournament run.
Anderson set the attack but helped out with her 13 digs and four total blocks.
The Utes held MSU to .203 hitting and owned the 16.5-13 lead in team blocks. Toone's 12 total blocks led the defense as she got help from Webb's six stuffs.
The Spartans held the 78-68 edge in digs and seemed to scoop up a lot of what usually fell for the Utes this season. However, Utah weathered the MSU defense.
Leading the Utes from the back row was Connie Dangerfield and Salvo with 14 digs apiece. Anderson and Webb were one off with 13 each.
It was a nip-and-tuck affair in game one, as the two rivals had to battle through 16 ties at the onset. No team held more than a two-point lead until Utah rattled off three straight points to own a 24-21 lead at that point. A solo block by Toone and an ace by Salvo gave the Utes their largest lead at five points, 29-24. The teams exchanged the final two tallies of the game with Utah nabbing the game-one win on a monster kill by Toone.
The Utes jumped out to a 4-1 lead on the sluggish Spartans in game two. Utah pushed its lead out to 6-2 but it quickly diminished, though, as MSU awoke and rallied to take the 9-7 lead. That two-point lead held tight until a 4-0 run gave the Spartans a 16-11 favor. Utah did respond with a 4-0 streak of its own to cut it 17-16 and finally tied it back up at 22-22. However, MSU got a block, an ace and benefited from an Anderson hitting error to recapture the three-point cushion, 25-22. Utah would cut the MSU lead to one, three times, but the three-point lead was too much to overcome as Michigan State tooled the block for the game point.
A 3-1 Spartan lead quickly swelled to 11-4, thanks to a 6-0 run early in the third game. It continued to slip away from the Utes as the seven-point lag turned into a 14-point deficit at 22-8. That Spartan lead came on the heels of an 8-0 spurt. Utah did tally five scores on the Spartans' game point to make it 29-20, but MSU held on for game-three victory.
Utah led from wire to wire in game four, pulling out the first of several five-point leads at 13-8. The Utes pushed their lead out to seven, 20-13, and still led by that many at 23-16. The U.'s largest lead came at 25-17 before the Spartans cut it to one, 29-28. A pair of Salvo kills ensured that MSU would not get any closer and the game-four win.
The team got back on the track in game five as Utah rolled out to a 5-1 lead on the Spartans. MSU called timeout to rally the troops, but Salvo served up an ace to keep the Spartans on their heels at 6-1. Hohl's serve brought MSU back to within one, 6-5, but Utah jumped back out to an 8-5 lead. With Utah leading 12-11, it rattled off the last three points of the match to escape with the five-game victory.