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The University Star

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The University Star


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Volleyball defeats Utah Valley in first match of NCAA Tournament


Texas State junior middle blocker Jillian Slaughter (8) prepares to spike the ball, Thursday, March 25, 2021, at Strahan Arena. The Bobcats won 3-0.

Texas State volleyball (31-8 overall, 15-1 Sun Belt) defeated the Utah Valley University Wolverines (14-6 overall, 12-4 WAC) 3-1 (25-21, 25-16, 20-25, 25-22) in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

This is the Bobcats’ second-ever tournament victory with the first occurring on Nov. 29, 2018. The win also marks the third time they reached 31 wins in a season and the first time since 1982.

Texas State started hot early in the first set as a kill by senior middle blocker Tyeranee Scott gave it an 8-3 lead. 

The Bobcats were up by as much as 15-8 before the Wolverine went on an 8-4 run to cut the deficit to three, 19-16. Texas State’s dominance prevailed and the team won the set 25-21.

The Maroon and Gold started even better in the second set as it led 12-4 early in the period. The Wolverines managed to cut into the lead as they went on a 3-0 run to bring the score to 14-9.

Texas State responded with a 5-0 run bringing the score to 20-10. Utah Valley managed to eat into the lead by bringing the score to 22-15 but the Bobcats grabbed the set 25-16 off a kill by sophomore outside hitter Caitlan Buettner.

The Wolverines found their stride in the third set as they led 6-2 early. They brought their lead to 14-8 before the Bobcats scored three unanswered points. The Wolverines kept their composure and went ahead 18-12.

Later in the set, Texas State went on a 4-1 run capped off by a kill from junior outside hitter Janell Fitzgerald to bring the score to 21-19. Even then, Utah Valley came back with a 4-1 run of its own to win the set 25-20 and avoid the sweep.

Now with the match score at 2-1, Texas State dominated the early portion of the fourth set as it led 6-0. The Bobcats even had a 7-3 run finished off with a kill from Buettner to bring the score to 18-6 leading to a Utah Valley timeout. 

Soon after the break, the Wolverines managed to pull off a 10-3 run to cut Texas State’s massive lead to one point with the score at 22-21. The Bobcats were forced to call a timeout in this situation.

Even though they found some momentum in the set, the Wolverines committed three costly errors that gave Texas State not only the set 25-22 but also the match.

The Bobcats finished the match with a .238 hitting percentage, 59 kills and 52 assists compared to the Wolverines’ .154 hitting percentage, 46 kills and 41 assists.

The Bobcats had three players with double-digit kills: Buettner (15), Scott (14) and Fitzgerald (13). Junior setter Emily DeWalt grabbed her 23rd double-double of the year with 45 assists and 10 digs. Junior libero Kayla Granado led both teams with 20 digs.

Texas State will go on to face the No. 5 seed University of Nebraska at 2:30 p.m. on April 15 at the CHI Health Center Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska. This match will be broadcasted on ESPN3.

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