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Ninth-Ranked Utes Fall, 3-1, in First of Two Matches at No. 17 UCLA

Mar 12, 2021

Box Score | Boxscore

LOS ANGELES—A tightly-contested battle of top-20 teams saw No. 17 UCLA pull out a 3-1 victory over No. 9 Utah Friday at Pauley Pavilion, by scores of 25-22, 20-25, 25-21 and 25-22. Utah falls to 10-3 with the loss while UCLA improves to 11-4.
Kenzie Koerber had 14 kills and hit .429 for the match, while tying for the team lead in digs with 12. Dani Drews had a team-high 18 kills and two Utes, Phoebe Grace and Kennedi Evans, had a match-high six blocks.
The Utes looked like they were well on their way to forcing a fifth set after opening up a 17-9 lead in Set Four, but the Bruins rallied back to score 12 of the next 14 points to take a 21-19 lead. Utah responded with three straight points to regain the lead at 22-21, but UCLA quickly turned back the rally and scored the final four points to win the set and the match.
The statistics reflected what an even matchup it was, as neither team could dominate at any point. UCLA out-hit Utah .280-.270, and the Bruins narrowly edged the Utes in kills (62-58), assists (56-53) and digs (63-60), while Utah held the advantage, 12-9.
The teams battled through a back-and-forth first set, with Utah at one point building a 14-10 lead. But UCLA rallied to take a 21-19 lead before the Utes came back to tie the set at 21. The Bruins came on strong to gain some more separation and won the set 25-22. Drews had six kills in the opening frame on .600 hitting with no errors.
The second set started in similar fashion with neither team mounting a run until the Utes put eight consecutive points on the board to go from two down to a 17-11 lead. Utah would hold on to take the set 25-20 and even the match at 1-1.
UCLA took an early 6-3 lead in Set 3, and eventually pushed the margin to 12-6, but Utah battled back to cut it to 12-10. After cutting the deficit to 17-16, the Utes could not contain the UCLA attack and fell behind 23-19 en route to the 25-21 set victory for the Bruins.
Utah and UCLA will match up again on Sunday at 1 p.m. MT. The match will be livestreamed by UCLA on Pac-12 Plus.