Let's Go Dancin'
Nov. 24, 2007
LAS VEGAS - Just like the two semifinal matches on Friday, the 2007 Mountain West Conference Volleyball Championship match had to go the distance. The second-seeded UNLV Rebels (24-5) prevailed with the five-game win over the fifth-seeded Utah Utes. UNLV earned the MWC's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament by virtue of the 24-30, 33-31, 30-17, 21-30, 15-12 win. This will be UNLV's first trip to the postseason, while Utah closes out the regular season with a 15-15 record.
UNLV out-hit the Utah .239 to .238, while the team with the highest hitting efficiency won each game. UNLV tallied its highest hitting in game four with a .368, while knocking down a .341 in game three. The Rebels won game two with a .268 figure compared to Utah's .241. Utah's best hitting came in the first game with its .385. The Utes cranked out a .224 in game four to tie the match, but only mustered a .065 in game three and .174 in the final game.
Utah jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead with help from its 30-24 win. The Utes broke open a 6-6 tie and ran away with the game building as much as an eight-point lead. UNLV was able to pull within two on two occasions with the last coming at 25-23, but it wasn't enough.
Game two was a tight affair that stayed within three points down the stretch. UNLV built up two different three point leads, but witnessed the Utes fight back. After a tie at 26-26, the teams evened the score five more times before UNLV scored the final two points of the game.
In game three, UNLV pushed away from Utah after a 8-8 tie. UNLV scored 22 of the final 31 points to take a two-games to one lead.
Utah's win in game four was similar to its loss in the third frame. The Utes rallied to win 23 of 37 points to even the match at two games apiece.
In the decisive fifth and final game, Utah jumped out to a quick 4-1 lead, but watched as UNLV evened the game at 4-4. Six more ties followed with the last coming at the 10-10 juncture. UNLV got a kill and a Utah hitting error to break the tie and take a 12-10 lead that would not be lost. UNLV would hold on and win the next three of five points for the win.
Lauren Miramontes, the 2007 MWC Championship MVP, carried over her hot hitting from Friday night in Saturday's Championship. Against BYU, on Friday, she nailed down a tournament-best 34 kills and followed that up with 30 against Utah. The 30-kills rank as the third-best performance in a tournament match. Miramontes hit .397 for the match with only five errors in 63 attempts. At the net, she set a career-high with nine blocks (one solo).
Melody Nua dished out 64 of UNLV's 74 assists. Nua added 12 digs to her assist total for the only Rebel double-double on the night.
Utah was led offensively by five players with 10 or more kills. Lori Baird, Kathryn Haynie and Whitney Webb threw down 18 kills each, while Kate Robison (17) and Karolina Bartkowiak (12) rounded out the quintet. Baird led all hitters with her .471 hitting efficiency.
Stephanie Shardlow and Keisha Fisher split the setting duties for Utah, as they both tallied 34 helpers. Shardlow and Fisher had double-doubles, as well. Shardlow had 17 digs to Fisher's 10.
Connie Dangerfield has a match-high 31 digs to lead Utah, while Robison had 10 to make the Utes third double-double.
2007 MWC Championship All-Tournament Team
Lori Baird, Utah Kathryn Haynie, Utah Connie Dangerfield, Utah Kate Robison, Utah Chelsea Goodman, BYU Outstanding Setter - Melody Nua, UNLV Outstanding Libero - Jada Walker, UNLV MVP - Lauren Miramontes, UNLV