Utah advanced to the Sweet 16 for the second time in school history after beating Clemson, 3-0, on Saturday.
Dec. 6, 2008
CLEMSON, S.C. -Utah outside hitter Kathryn Haynie posted a team-high 11 kills as the national 12th seed University of Utah volleyball team earned its second NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearance in school history with a 3-0 second-round win (25-21, 26-24, 25-21) against Clemson Saturday in Jervey Gym.
Utah (26-5) has won 11 consecutive matches and 19 of its last 20 overall. The Utes are 12-4 away from Crimson Court and have won nine consecutive sets overall.
"I'm very proud of this team for making it this far," Utah head coach Beth Launiere said. "They are a special group of players. We lost a conference match on the road a couple of months ago and since then we have won a bunch of volleyball matches. What this team has done all year is respond. We went out tonight with great energy and great determination."
Haynie hit her 14 kills on just 19 swings for a career-high .632 hitting percentage. The North Salt Lake City, Utah native notched her 20th career double-double performance and her eighth of this season with 11 digs.
"Haynie has been a leader all year," Utah middle blocker Emillie Toone said. "She knew it was going to be a tuff match and she stepped it up. Haynie took some pressure off us in the middle which was a great help."
Two other Utes hit double figures in kills with Toone totaling 12 on just 22 attempts for a .500 hitting percentage. Lori Baird totaled 10 kills with four errors on 24 attempts for a .250 hitting percentage. Baird also came up with a match-high five service aces.
"Baird and Toone have not been stopped all season," Launiere said. "And I didn't think they would be stopped tonight either. When we are able to get the ball into the middle with Baird and Toone we can be a great team. And we were able to do that tonight. "I feel that our coaching staff did a good job of putting together a game plan. Our girls game out and executed it. They dug a lot of balls and were very aggressive defensively. "
The Utes are 10-9 in 19 all-time NCAA Tournament matches. Utah has qualified for the tournament in 10 of the last 11 years.
To open the match, the Utes went on a 5-0 run, which included kills by Baird and Haynie as well as an ace by Simmons to take a 9-3 lead early in the first set. Utah extended its lead to as many as nine points at 14-5 after a Clemson attack error. The point started an 8-2 Clemson run that cut the deficit to three points at 16-13. With the score 21-18 nearing the end of the set, Utah pieced together a 3-0 run to go ahead 24-18 before a Tiger attack error gave the Utes the set. The Utes outhit the Tigers .195 to .081 in the opening set, with Haynie leading the way with five kills on five attempts for a 1.000 hitting percentage to go along with three digs. Toone and Karolina Bartkowiak had three kills apiece on a combined 11 swings on a .550 hitting percentage between them.
Utah is 21-0 after winning the first set of a match this season and are now 16-0 when taking the first two sets.
The second set featured a series of runs by both teams. After Utah got out to a 5-4 lead in the second set, the Utes used another 4-0 run to seize a 9-5 advantage thanks to two kills from Toone and an ace by Haynie. Clemson roared back with a 6-0 run to claim a 12-11 lead. Simmons managed her second kill of the season. The Utes used a 4-0 run to claim a 17-15 advantage, thanks to a pair of aces by Baird but a 7-1 Clemson run followed to give the Tigers a 22-18 edge. Utah responded with a 6-1 run to assume a 24-23 lead, and the Tigers came back to tie the match two more times at 24 and 25 points, before a pair of Clemson attack errors gave the Utes a 26-24 second-set win. Toone responded with five kills on 11 swings in the set with a single attack error and Baird contributed four more as Utah outhit Clemson .195 to .119. The Utes picked up the match-two win despite being outblocked, 5-2.
The Utes inched out to a 12-11 lead in the third set then scored an additional five consecutive points to take control of the set with an 18-11 advantage and cruised to a 25-21 win to clinch the match. Haynie came through with six kills on seven attempts for a .714 hitting percentage to go along with three digs. Utah outhit Clemson .312 to .258, while the Tigers were able to outblock the Utes, 6-2.
Clemson (23-10) was led by Jeannette Abbott's 11 kills. Abbott took 36 swings and committed five errors for a .167 hitting percentage as well as seven digs and two block assists.
The Utes take on fifth-seeded Washington in the Seattle Regional final Friday, Dec. 12 in Seattle, Wash. The Huskies are 26-5 this season and earned a pair of 3-0 sweeps in the first two rounds of the tournament over Portland State and Santa Clara.