Nov. 23, 2006
LAS VEGAS - The top-seeded and ninth-ranked Utah Utes were in top form Thursday night in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Conference Tournament at the Cox Pavilion on UNLV's campus. The Utes shut out the Lobos, 3-0, breaking the conference's record for consecutive wins in a season at 24.
The Utes weren't fazed by the off days, racing out to a 15-6 lead. The Lobos strung together a 4-0 lead thanks to two consecutive kills from freshman Anna Lehne and two straight aces from junior Jennifer Heasty, cutting the score to 17-11. But the Utes responded, pushing the lead to double-digits, cruising to the 30-16 win.
In game two the Lobos trailed by just two (6-4) after a monstrous kill from sophomore Jeanne Fairchild. Utah responded, outscoring the Lobos 9-1 heading into the media timeout. UNM traded five points with the Utes after the break before Utah put together another run, pushing the lead to double-digits again and grabbing the 30-16 win.
The Lobos grabbed their first lead of the match to start game three, building a 3-0 run on kills from Lehne and senior Kelly Therkelsen. After Utah evened the match with a 3-0 run of its own, the teams traded points to 6. Trailing two at 10-8, the Utah offense kicked it up a notch, stringing together an 8-0 run. Freshman Rose Morris came off the bench for her first action of the tournament, giving the team a brief lift in energy, recording a block and two kills. But it wasn't enough as the Ute clinched the match with a 30-18 win.
Therkelsen and Fairchild led the team with seven kills each. Heasty chipped in with six kills and a match-high three aces. MWC Player of the Year Airial Salvo led the Utes with 14 kills, eight digs, four blocks and two aces.
The Lobos conclude the 2006 season with a 10-20 overall record. Utah advances to the semifinals of the tournament tomorrow at approx. 4 p.m. PT to take on the hosting Rebels.