The Seattle University volleyball team came back from two sets down to force a fifth set and had two chances to complete the comeback, but the Utah State Aggies held on for a 3-2 victory (25-23, 27-25, 23-25, 20-25, 20-18) Thursday night in a Western Athletic Conference contest at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
Kaytlyn Dill (Bothell, Wash.) set a new school record for most kills in a single match, finishing with 31 kills to become the first Seattle U player ever to compile at least 30 kills in one contest. She also collected 14 digs for a double-double, while setter Jacquie Brice (Fullerton, Calif.) also notched a double-double with 60 assists and 14 digs.
Two straight kills by Dill and a service ace from McKenzie Daniels (Edmonds, Wash.) gave Seattle U an early 3-1 lead in the final set. The two teams traded points the rest of the way, with the Redhawks earning the first two match point chances, but the Aggies turned both of them away.
Utah State earned the next three chances to win the match, but one kill from Karina Miastkowska (Northbrook, Ill.) and two from Dill brought the set back into a tie situation. Dill sent a serve into the net to give Utah State its fourth match point opportunity, and Shay Sorensen converted with a service ace to give the Aggies the victory.
The fourth set was close early, but with the Aggies ahead, 9-8, Seattle U went on a 13-4 scoring run, thanks in part to three kills by Karli Pedone (Granite Bay, Calif.), to pull ahead, 21-13. Utah State responded with a 7-2 scoring run to close its deficit to three at 23-20, but a block by Dill and Andi Lowrance (Phoenix, Ariz.), followed by a kill from Dill, sent the match into the deciding fifth set.
Utah State (8-4, 3-0 WAC) scored the first eight points of the match and maintained that advantage through the first half of the first set. Seattle U started its comeback with four unanswered points to cut its deficit to three, but Rachel Orr earned a block assist and a kill to help the Aggies pull ahead, 21-15.
The Redhawks went on a 5-0 run, punctuated by a service ace from Lani Beadle (Seattle, Wash.), to close the gap to 21-20, but two kills by Shay Sorensen and a Utah State block created set point for the Aggies. Back-to-back kills by Miastkowska brought Seattle U back to within one at 24-23, but Elle Brainard picked up a kill to close out the first set in Utah State's favor.
It was Seattle U getting off to a quick 6-2 start in the second set, led by three kills and a block assist from Dill. Sarah Jaeckel (Littleton, Colo.) earned a service ace and Seattle U picked up another kill to open a 14-8 advantage, but Utah State came out of a timeout by scoring six unanswered points to tie the set. After the two teams traded points for a while, Orr earned two kills and a block assist to give the Aggies a 24-23 lead. Three Redhawk errors at the end of the set gave Utah State the second set and a 2-0 match lead.
The Aggies jumped out in front in the third set, with a kill by Brainard putting the home team ahead, 9-6. Seattle U responded with a 5-1 scoring run, including three consecutive kills by Dill, to take a one-point lead. The rest of the set was a seesaw battle until it reached a 23-23 tie, when Dill and Pedone notched consecutive kills to give the Redhawks the third set to extend the match.
Jaeckel and Pedone each earned nine kills in the match, with Jaeckel collecting 14 digs and Pedone picking up four block assists. Lowrance had two service aces to go along with five digs and five block assists, Daniels also notched two service aces to add to her nine digs, and Beadle led the Redhawks with 22 defensive digs during the night.
Orr led Utah State with 14 kills, plus she earned five block assists, while Sorensen finished with 13 kills, 14 digs, and six block assists, and Josselyn White contributed 10 kills, 12 digs, and four total blocks. Brainard ended up with eight kills and six total blocks, and Kaitlyn Van Hoff contributed eight kills and 10 block assists. Setter Paige Neves finished with 51 assists, while Ashlan Rogers led all players with 24 defensive digs.
Seattle University (6-7, 1-2 WAC) heads to San Jose, Calif., to face the San Jose State Spartans Saturday, Sept. 22, starting at 7 p.m. The Redhawks will then return home for three straight conference matches against UTSA (Sept. 27), Texas State (Sept. 29), and Idaho (Oct. 5) at the Connolly Center.