No. 10 Volleyball Begins Season Hosting Arizona
Match 1-2: No. 10 Utah (0-0) vs. Arizona (0-0)
Friday, January 22 | 6 p.m. MT and 12 p.m. MT
SALT LAKE CITY | Huntsman Center
Utah begins its season by hosting Arizona in Salt Lake City. They will play the Wildcats on Friday and Sunday in the Huntsman Center.
On Friday, the first serve is at 6 p.m. and on Sunday it will be at noon.
The Utes won both matches against Arizona a season ago winning in four sets in Tucson and five sets in Salt Lake City.
The Pac-12 Conference announced their preseason coaches poll and with nine first place votes, Utah volleyball has been picked to win the league this season.
Utah totaled 119 points for their highest preseason polling since joining the Conference in 2011 (previous high was fourth in 2017).
The Utes are coming off a season in 2019 where they finished 24-10 overall and 14-6 in the Pac-12 sitting in a tie for third. They advanced to the Sweet 16 where they pushed eventual National Champion Stanford to a fifth set before the Cardinal prevailed.
A big reason the Utes were named the favorites in the Pac-12 is because of their two seniors Dani Drews and Kenzie Koerber. The two were both named All-Americans last season and were two of the best players in the conference.
Drews led the team with 643 kills and Koerber was the only player in the conference to win Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week throughout the season.
This is the second time Drews has been named to the Preseason All-Conference team.
LAUNIERE ENTERS 31ST SEASON
Head coach Beth Launiere enters her 31st season with Utah and has built the program from the ground up.
She was named Pac-12 Coach of the Year guiding one of her best teams a season ago to a 14-6 record in the best volleyball conference in the country.
Launiere sits at 588 wins, has won four AVCA Region Coach of the Year awards, made the NCAA Tournament 16 times, been to the Sweet 16 four times and recorded 18 20-win seasons among other things.
SCHEDULE THIS SPRING
The Pac-12 Conference released the 2020 campaign schedule to be held in the winter and the spring of 2021 and includes a 22 conference-match slate set to begin on January 22 and ending on April 3 with the NCAA Selection Show taking place on April 4.
Each weekend will feature a two-match series to take place at the same site outside of home-and-home rivalry matchups. Utah will have six weekends at home with two of those weekends scheduled for TV as of right now.
The complete week-by-week schedule shell as well as start times and matches selected for broadcast by Pac-12 Networks through Feb. 28 are listed; remaining broadcasts through the end of the regular season will be announced in the coming weeks. Dates and start times for non-televised contests will be announced by schools subject to additional sport schedules and facility availability. All match dates, times and broadcasts are subject to change.
The Utes set a program record with four student-athletes named AVCA All-Americans after the 2019 season and three of them will be leading the way this year.
Dani Drews became the second player in program history to be named a First Team All-American after finishing second in the country with 643 kills. She is now a two-time All-American after being named to the second team after the 2018 season.
Kenzie Koerber was named a Second Team All-American. Koerber was a staple all season on the right side having 400 kills, 323 digs and 109 blocks and was the only player in the Pac-12 to be named Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week.
Saige Ka'aha'aina-Torres in her first year as the starting setter broke the single-season program record with 1,518 assists and earned honorable mention All-American honors.
YEAR TO REMEMBER
Utah made it to its fourth Sweet 16 and second in three years in program history in the 2019 season.
They had a record-breaking number of All-Americans, All-Region awards and All-Pac-12 awards.
Beth Launiere was rewarded for guiding her team to a 24-10 record by being named Pac-12 Coach of the Year and All-Region Coach of the Year.
On top of all the awards, Brianna Doehrmann set a new career digs record, Dani Drews set a single-season kills record and Saige Ka'aha'aina-Torres set a single-season assists record.
PAC-12 RULING ON FANS
The Pac-12 Conference recently updated its policy on spectator attendance at Pac-12 sport competitions to extend beyond the original date of Jan. 1, and until further notice.
After Utah faces Arizona, they will hit the road the next two weekends.
First they will play Cal in Berkeley on Friday, January 29 and Sunday, January 31 and then will travel to Tempe, Arizona to play the Sun Devils Friday, February 3 and Sunday, February 5. The matches against Arizona State will be on the Pac-12 Network.