Utah volleyball opened the season 3-0 behind a sweep of New Mexico State on Saturday night, and the Utes claimed their own Utah Classic Tournament title. The Utes fell behind by as many as nine points in the second set against New Mexico State, but the squad never gave in and rallied to win the set, eventually sweeping the match over the Aggies at Crimson Court. Utah has now opened the season with three straight victories for the third consecutive season, and it marks the third straight Utah Classic victory as well for the Utes.
The Utes took the first match 25-17 behind Chelsey Schofield-Olsen’s four kills and four digs. Redshirt freshman Carly Trueman notched three kills, while senior Bailey Bateman tallied four block-assists in a set that Utah never trailed.
Utah found themselves down by as many as nine points later in the set, but an 8-2 run pulled the Utes within three points, down 22-19. NMSU registered the next point, but Utah came back with another two points to make it a 23-21 set.
The Aggies later made it set-point on a kill from Jordan Abalos, but Utah scored the next four points to take its first lead 25-24. The two teams would trade points over the next seven side-outs until NMSU again went up set-point, 29-28. Utah registered the next two points and then Schofield-Olsen collected her second block of the contest to give the Utes the set, 31-29.
Late in the second set, Schofield-Olsen recorded her eighth dig of the match, which gave her the 1,000th dig of her career and propelled her into Utah school history as a member of the exclusive 1,000 kills/1,000 digs club.
Utah erased a 12-9 deficit with three straight points in the third set, but the Aggies came right back with four consecutive points to take a 16-12 lead. Just as they did in the second set though, Utah managed to spark a comeback, this time relying on a 7-2 run to take a 19-18 advantage.
NMSU would take the next two points before a back-and-forth set showed a 25-25 tie on the scoreboard. Back-to-back kills from Bateman and fellow senior Shelby Daltonclinched both the set (27-25) and the match for the Utes, who won nine sets overall to just a pair of losses over the two-day tournament.
Five Utah players had at least seven kills in the contest and the Utes tallied 13.0 team blocks in the three sets as well.
Senior Kalee Kirby registered a team-high 20 assists in the match, while junior Kendall Cygan notched 18 assists.
Schofield-Olsen and Trueman led the team with nine kills each while Dalton led the squad with 12 digs. Bateman had a team high seven total blocks and was named tournament MVP following the match.
The Utes will be back in action Friday, Sept. 5, with the team’s first road neutral and road contests of the season. Utah will play a neutral match against Cal Poly Pomona at noon on Friday, and will then face St. Mary’s at McKeon Pavillion in Moraga, Calif.
Utah Classic All Tournament Team:
Loni Kreun - OH - Montana State
Gwen Murphy - MB - New Mexico State
Maddy Hogan - L - Missouri State
Andrea Beaty - MB - Missouri State
Chelsey Schofield-Olsen - OH - Utah
Shelby Dalton - RS - Utah
MVP: Bailey Bateman - MB - Utah