Utah Tech University women’s volleyball team dominated the four-set series in their home game against the University of Idaho, winning the series three to one.
The opening set saw Utah Tech making a statement as they established early dominance. The team exhibited passion, teamwork and attacks as they slipped ahead of Idaho. The first set ended in favor of the Trailblazers with a score of 25-15.
Feeding off of the first set, the Trailblazers took control of the second set early on. By putting points on Vandal’s left and right, the pressure to come back was pertinent. The Vandals did what they could to fight back but ultimately lost the set 25-10.
Idaho, despite losing the first two sets, challenged Utah Tech in set three. They displayed blocking and defensive playmaking making it challenging for Utah Tech to find the gaps. Idaho took the third set with a score of 25-16.
Looking to put the game away, the Trailblazers controlled the fourth set. Utah Tech’s defense shut out the Vandals from scoring. The team was on top with a score of 25-9 ending the game and securing the win.
Emma Ricks and Kennedy Knudsen both had some spectacular saves within the same rally. With Ricks practically jumping into the stand to save them from getting scored on, it ended with a successful point for the Trailblazers.
Taela Laufiso, a senior communication studies major from West Jordan, said the team came out “mad” going into the fourth set and made some changes to the lineup.
“We had a couple of outside hitters coming in from the bench, and they did great,” Laufiso said. “Then some defensive changes between our libero and our defensive specialist which was just what we needed.”
Utah Tech showed confidence and passion throughout the game. Their sideline was jumping around and dancing whenever there was a timeout. Their energy corresponded with the crowd. Every time there was a play made by Utah Tech, the crowd would uproar.
Head coach Camilla Hafoka said she wanted the team to play with discipline, and the constant communication is the reason they won those long rallies.
“We told them to be their most authentic selves,” Hafoka said. “If everyone can play being their authentic selves, then we’re gonna be really good because they aren’t holding back who they are, and they can freely play.”
The team constantly communicated with one another throughout the game. From in-between sets to long rallies, the Trailblazers were talking to each other on and off the court, making sure everyone was in tune as one.
Hannah Howard, a senior exercise science major from Bountiful, said communication is something she, along with her team, has been trying to improve on.
“I think what has helped our team succeed so much is having the blockers and the defenders communicating with each other, so we’re all on the same page,” Howard said.
With the win over Idaho, the Trailblazers move to 4-5 on the year. They will start conference play against Western Athletic Conference opponent, California Baptist University, Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. in the Burns Arena.