Utah Volleyball Advances To NCAA Second Round

Dec. 5, 2003

SEATTLE -- In a thrilling five-game match, the Utah volleyball team (22-8) upset No. 13 Santa Clara (26-30, 25-30, 30-20, 30-24, 15-12) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at the University of Washington tonight. The Utes hit .343 on the match, compared to the .247 of the Broncos. Utah also out-blocked Santa Clara 9-7 and had seven service aces in the win.

'Obviously this is a big win for us,' Head Coach Beth Launiere said. 'I felt confident against a quality Santa Clara team, mostly because we've played awfully good teams in the Mountain West Conference all season.'

'We were a different team after the first two games,' Launiere continued. 'In the locker room between games two and three, I challenged the team to make a choice and they made the decision to go for it.'

Senior All-America candidate Kim Turner led a group of five Utes in double-digit kills with 24. She has just two errors on 44 attempts for a .500 hitting percentage. She also added nine digs, two blocks and an ace. 'Kim Turner had an All-American-type night for us,' Launiere said.

Sophomore Shelly Sommerfeldt and junior Lyndsey Henderson added 17 kills apiece, while sophomore Danielle Leichliter and junior Kelsie Kartchner each had 11. Sommerfeldt, who had only three kills after the first two games, also added six digs and three blocks. Henderson posted a match-high seven blocks, while Kartchner had three service aces.

Setters and Tracy Neumeier and Kartchner dished out 40 and 33 assists on the match, respectively. Senior libero Jackie Morrill finished with a match-high 20 digs.

After a close start in game one, Santa Clara used a 7-1 run to take a 14-8 lead, forcing Utah to take a time out. After the time out, Utah scored three straight points, but the Broncos answered with four of their own to take a 20-12 lead.Santa Clara maintained its eight-point lead until Utah went on a 4-0 run to cut it to four, 24-28. The Broncos went on to win 30-26. The Utes hit for .182 on the game, compared to the .262 of Santa Clara. Turner and Henderson led Utah with six kills apiece, while Morrill had seven digs.

Utah led or was tied for the majority of a tightly-played game two, but after a tie at 23, the Broncos used a 3-0 run to go up 26-23. Santa Clara went on to win 30-25. The Utes hit .469 on the game, compared to the .457 of the Broncos and out-blocked Santa Clara 2-0. Turner, Leichliter and Kartchner notched four kills apiece to lead Utah.

After a 4-4 tie in game three, Utah took the lead for good, using several runs to build its lead to as many as 11. The Utes combined for a .500 hitting percentage on the game, compared to the .265 of Santa Clara. Sommerfeldt had six kills on the game to pace Utah, which had three service aces on the game.

Game four was tied at five when Utah took the lead, building it and maintaining it at four. The Broncos used a 3-0 run to cut the Ute lead to one (17-16), but Utah answered with five straight points for a 22-16 lead. The Utes went on to win 30-24. Utah hit .273 on the game and held the Broncos to just .022. Turner had seven kills on the game, while Sommerfeldt notched six.

In the fifth and final game, Santa Clara scored the first two points of the game, but Utah came back and tied it at four. After ties at six, seven and 11, the Utes scored three of the last four points to secure the win. Utah hit .381 on the game, while Santa Clara combined for a .333 hitting percentage.

UP NEXT:At 7 p.m. (PDT) Saturday night, the Utes face the winner of tonight's No. 14 Washington/Northwestern match.

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