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UVU roundup: Wolverine women’s volleyball loses heartbreaker in WAC semifinals

By Staff | Nov 18, 2023

Natalie Grover, UVU Athletics

UVU women's volleyball players compete against Stephen F. Austin in the WAC semifinals at Lockhart Arena in Orem on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023.

Utah Valley women’s volleyball dropped a heartbreaker in the semifinals of the WAC Tournament to Stephen F. Austin 3-1 (24-26, 25-22, 20-25, 28-30) inside Lockhart Arena in Orem. The intense match saw 53 ties and 22 lead changes over four sets. Avery Shewell led UVU (12-17, 8-8) with 16 kills on 35 swings in the match.

“This was a very tough loss tonight, especially for how well they played. It will take a while to get over. I hurt for the team, especially our seniors. They are amazing young ladies that I have had the privilege to coach. I will miss them. They have blessed my life tremendously,” said UVU head coach Sam Atoa.

Shewell answered the call early for the UVU offense in the opening set with five kills and only one error. She was aided by a strong performance from senior setter Abbie Medeiros, who had eight of her 30 assists in the set. A pair of kills from Shewell gave the Wolverines a narrow lead late in the set, but the Ladyjacks found a way to narrowly win the set 26-24.

Kendra Nock got the Wolverines back in the set after she had a pair of service aces cut into a five-point deficit and put UVU down two at 10-8. One of Nock’s two kills in the set gave UVU the lead at 13-12 and forced an SFA timeout. Tori Ellis, Caleigh Vagana, and Shewell provided key kills down the stretch before a service error from the Ladyjacks gave UVU the set.

Senior Hailey Cuff was the victim of most SFA service attempts, and she finished with 17 digs in the match, but in the third set, her four kills helped set the tone. Cuff had kills that gave UVU a pair of leads early at 8-6 and 9-8 before fellow senior Kalea Kennedy added two kills, extending the lead to 14-12. The Ladyjacks regained the lead before Caleigh Vagana answered with a pair of her own kills. Stephen F. Austin answered, though, and closed the set to take a 2-1 lead.

Shewell finished with seven kills in the match’s final set, with Ellis having four and Vagana adding three. The set was a see-saw battle, including late as the match was tied at 19-19 after a block assist by Ellis and Vagana. Utah Valley held a late lead at 23-20 before a 5-1 run by SFA pushed the match past 25, and after trading points, it was the Ladyjacks who came up with two points for a 30-28 win.

The Wolverines had 54 assists, Medeiros finishing with 30, Evalyn Chism added 16, and Lani Matavao had seven. Utah Valley held the advantage in hitting percentage with a .287 to .271 advantage.

Utah Valley finishes the season at 12-17 and 8-8 in WAC play and they will now break until the spring season. The 2024 schedule will be announced in the upcoming months.

Wolverine men’s basketball wins barnburner over Southern Miss at Jacksonville Classic

Tanner Toolson recorded a 22-points, 10-rebound double-double to lead Utah Valley to a 67-65 win over Southern Miss on Sunday in the first game of the Jacksonville Classic at Flagler Gymnasium in St. Augustine, Florida.

The Wolverines advance to Monday’s Jacksonville Classic championship game against Cornell, which defeated Cal State Fullerton, 88-70, on the other side of the bracket.

Tied 64-64 with just 51 seconds to play, Jaden McClanahan knocked down three-point shot from the corner to give the Wolverines a 67-64 lead. Southern Miss then went 1 of 2 from the free throw line and couldn’t get a shot off at the buzzer as Utah Valley defeated the Golden Eagles, 67-65.

Utah Valley improves its record to 3-1 overall on the season, while Southern Miss falls to 2-2.

Toolson scored his 22 points on 8 of 16 shooting, including four three-point field goals. He also hit 2 of 3 shots from the free throw line. The redshirt freshman also pulled down a career-high 10 rebounds with three steals, one assist, and a block.

The game produced five ties and seven lead changes.

McClanahan was also in double figures with 12 points, connecting on 3 of 8 shots from the floor, including 2 of 5 shots from long range. He went a perfect 4 of 4 from the charity stripe. McClanahan pulled down four rebounds and dished out three assists.

Drake Allen neared a double-double with eight points and nine rebounds. He also had three steals and a block. Caleb Stone-Carrawell scored nine points with four rebounds, while Trevin Dorius pulled down nine rebounds with seven points and a block.

Utah Valley shot 47.2 percent (25-53) from the field with a 36.4 percent (8-22) clip from beyond the arc. UVU held Southern Miss to 40.7 percent (22-54) shooting, including a 50 percent (6-12) mark from long range.

Utah Valley outrebounded Southern Miss 39-29 on the day and forced the Golden Eagles into 13 turnovers.

Utah Valley will now play in championship game of the Jacksonville Classic on Monday at noon (MT) against Cornell. The game will be streamed live at PassTheBallLive.com. The game will be broadcast over the airwaves on ESPN 960 AM radio. The radio pregame show will begin at 11:30 a.m.

Wolverine women’s cross country finishes 23rd at NCAAs

Utah Valley University finished 23rd in its second straight trip to the NCAA Cross Country Championships on Saturday morning at Panorama Farms. Morgan Nokes led the team with a 68th-place finish.

The 22nd-ranked Wolverines improved on last year’s team finish of 26th overall while making just the second team appearance at the NCAA final in program history. Nokes finished the 6k in 20:28.5 to record the second-best individual finish in program history. Last season, Everlyn Kemboi finished 19th to become the program’s first All-American in cross country.

Abbie Fuhriman was next for UVU, taking spot 123 with a time of 20:49.9. Ari Trimble landed in 127th (20:51.3), improving on her placing at last year’s championship by 71 spots. Anna Martin crossed the finish line in 20:58.6, putting her 147th overall. Lydia Beus (172nd, 21:12.0), Caila Odekirk (213th, 21:42.5), and Oakley Olson (214th, 21:43.3) rounded out the seven Wolverines competing.

UVU women’s basketball loses at St. Thomas

Utah Valley University ran out of time in its attempt to comeback, dropping a 70-62 Saturday afternoon contest at the University of St. Thomas inside Schoenecker Arena in St. Paul, Minn. Tessa Chaney led the team in scoring for the second game with 10 points off the bench.

The Wolverines (1-2) had a balanced offensive output, with six different players scoring seven points or more. Amanda Barcello added nine points while Kylee Mabry chipped in eight and had a pair of steals. Chaney pulled down seven boards to lead UVU in that category. Eleyana Tafisi finished with six points and a game-high eight assists.

The Tommies (2-1) got a game-high 28 points from Amber Scalia, who was 16-for-16 from the free-throw line in the contest. St. Thomas was 23-of-32 overall from the line while Utah Valley converted on 13-of-22 from the charity stripe.

Utah Valley returns home to host Westminster on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the UCCU Center and will also travel to Idaho for a game against the Big Sky’s Vandals on Saturday, Nov. 25.


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