– Utah volleyball defeated the Denver Pioneers in the straight sets (25-23, 25-18, 27-25) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in the Provo Regional.
"I could not be more proud of this team," head coach Beth Launiere
said. "These last three weeks of the season, we've found a lot of ways to win matches and I thought tonight showed what we've been doing. I think Denver is a very good team. I was very worried about this match. They're well coached and I knew they would be well prepared. The fight in them, especially considering the big injury they had a couple matches ago, was strong. They played hard and tactical and I was very pleased that we were able to get this win."
spread the offense around as three players had double-figure kills and she finished the match with 33 assists and 12 digs. The team hit a combined .310 in the match.
led the way with 18 kills along with Megan Yett
having 11 and Kenzie Koerber
The first set was tight, but Denver edged ahead 16-13. The Utes clawed back to tie the score at 17 and then took a lead 20-18. From there, Utah kept coming up with big plays getting set point at 24-21. The Pioneers spoiled two set points to get within one, but Utah buckled down and got the 25th
point to win the opening set.
In the second set with Utah winning 14-13, they went on a 6-0 run to go up 20-13. Denver couldn't recover from that deficit as Utah took a 2-0 lead in the match.
Utah once again built a lead in the third set at 18-12, but Denver never gave up and came back to tie the score at 20. The Pioneers kept that momentum going eventually leading 24-22. Not wanting to give up a set, Utah locked back in and ran off three in a row to go up 25-24. After being tied at 25, a kill by Yett and an error by Denver had the Utes clinch the match and moving on to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
also had a great night finishing the match with 16 digs.
Now, Utah will play the winner of the BYU and Stony Brook match at 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 1 in the Provo Regional at Smith Field House.