PROVO, Utah – Paige Penrod had a career-high 30 kills but Utah battled from behind to win the final two sets and defeat the Bowling Green State University volleyball team Saturday night 29-27, 26-28, 21-25, 25-22, 15-11.
Penrod became the first Falcon to post 30 kills in a match since Caty Rommeck had 30 against Maryland on Sept. 1, 2001. Bowling Green's school record for kills is 35 by Jo Lynn Williamson in 1987.
"Paige had the match of her career," BGSU head coach Danijela Tomic said. "The numbers she put up in this match were very impressive. We've always believed that she could play at such a high level and it's great to see her playing up to her potential."
Both teams had multiple opportunities throughout the match, beginning in the first set when the Falcons built a 22-17 lead. Utah stormed back but the Falcons led 24-22 when the Utes scored three in a row for a 25-24 lead. A Leah Shaw kill tied it and a Penrod kill later in the frame tied it again at 27-27. But Utah got a kill and a service ace to pull out the 29-27 win.
The second set was close throughout but with the score tied at 26-26, Penrod had a kill and Kaitlyn Skinner followed with the set-clinching kill for the 28-26 win.
The first half of the third set was nip-and-tuck but the Falcons pulled away with a 6-1 run to take a 19-13 lead. Bowling Green cruised to the 25-21 lead to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
The fourth set was tied at 18-18 and Utah led by just a 21-20 score but the Utes finished off the set to force a fifth.
In the first fifth-set of the year for the Falcons, Bowling Green got off to a slow start, falling behind 10-2. The team used a 7-2 run to claw back to within three points but Utah had just enough to hold off the charge.
Bowling Green dominated in digs, posting 18 more than Utah but the Utes answered with defense at the net, picking up 18.5 blocks. The Falcons also had 17 more kills than Utah but had 19 more attack errors.
Penrod's 19 digs led the way, while Libby Dachenhaus and Ashley Dunn had 18 each, and Cassie Berning added a career-best 17. Lindsey Butterfield had a career-best 17 kills, while Danielle Tonyan added 15, Shaw 11, and Skinner nine.
"This was a tough loss because we played so well in so many areas," Tomic said. "This was one of the best offensive performances that we've had so far this year. Unfortunately, we also had the worst blocking performance this season and that was a deciding factor in the game. Our team played so hard and never gave up. The matches that we had yesterday and today build team character and expedite individual and team growth. At this point in time in our program development, those lessons are more valuable than W's on our record."
Utah improved to 7-4 with the win, while BGSU falls to 2-6. The Falcons will compete next in the Purdue Active Ankle Challenge Friday and Saturday, facing Alabama Birmingham Friday at noon and Jacksonville State Friday at 5 p.m. BGSU will then play host Purdue Saturday at 7 p.m.