No. 19 Utah Volleyball Remains Undefeated, Downs No. 22 San Diego and Cal Poly
SALT LAKE CITY – Utah volleyball remained undefeated on the season with wins over Cal Poly (25-17, 25-17, 25-16) and No. 22-ranked San Diego (28-30, 25-22, 25-22, 25-17) on Friday in the Jon M. Huntsman Center. Utah will contend for an undefeated weekend in its home tournament tomorrow night in Salt Lake City, hosting Hawaii at 7 p.m. MT to close out the event.
"Some matches are just matches where you really have to grind it out, and that is what it was tonight against San Diego," said head coach Beth Launiere. "That is a really talented San Diego team and it was very beneficial to get in a match like that early on in the season. It was a fun match because both teams were making a lot of adjustments as the match went on. We are looking forward to playing Hawaii tomorrow night and finishing strong in our home tournament."
#19 Utah 3, #22 San Diego 1
The matchup between the two top-25 teams did not disappoint as Utah came away with the 3-1 win to remain undefeated on the season. The first three sets went to the wire before the Utes put away the Toreros for good in the fourth set after hitting a collective .438 clip in the frame.
The pair of ranked teams went back and forth through the first set and it took extra points before San Diego could pull out the win. Utah pushed a lead out to 22-19, but a 5-1 run from San Diego found the Utes fending off their first set point, trailing 24-23. A big kill by Drews evened the score, but the teams continued trading points until the set was tied 28-28. Despite fending off four previous set points, a kill from San Diego and a Ute attack error ended the set.
The second set played out similar to the first with both teams playing tight until Utah built a lead midway through the frame 17-14. The Utes allowed the Toreros to creep back in over time and eventually were forced to call timeout with the lead cut to 23-22 late in the set. Out of the timeout, San Diego set a serve out of bounds and an attack error would hand Utah the set 25-22. Dani Drews was electric in the set, collecting nine kills for Utah at a .467 clip.
Errors came few and far between in the third set as both teams hit over .300 as a unit. Zoe Weatherington, Madelyn Robinson and Kennedi Evans each posted four kills in the set and combined for just one error to guide the Utes in another competitive win. The setting looked the same as Utah and San Diego were tied up late once again like the previous sets. Utah put together a trio of points from a Weatherington kill and two kills from Drews when the score was even at 22-22 to win the set and put itself in a position to close out the match.
Utah didn't let the opportunity pass and jumped out to a 13-7 lead to start the fourth set and never looked back. A lead of 19-11 set up Utah for the win, and although a quick San Diego run cut the lead to just four points, Utah bounced back and walked out with the 25-17 fourth set victory and 3-1 match win. Utah's offense put down 15 kills with just one error in the final set (.438 hitting pct.).
Drews tallied a season-high 23 kills, while Robinson added 12 kills and Weatherington tallied a season-high 11 kills. Stef Jankiewicz led the offense once again and dished out a season-high 42 assists and team-high 14 digs for her first double-double as a Ute. Robinson also notched a double-double, adding 12 digs to her kill count. Vanessa Ramirez also hit the 10-plus mark in digs, finishing with 12 digs as well. Allie Olsen finished with a team-high 6.0 total blocks.
#19 Utah 3, Cal Poly 0
Aggressive serving and net play guided Utah through a first set victory of 25-17, and later the match, to get the Utah Classic underway. Utah finished the first set with five service aces and four blocks, while Dani Drews collected six kills at a .462 hitting percentage to begin the two-day tournament.
The Utes jumped out to an early lead over the Mustangs, forcing Cal Poly to call a timeout after falling behind 6-2 in the first set. Cal Poly cut it to just two points, but another Utah surge led to a lead of six points late in the first set. In control, Utah extended the lead to 22-14 before a pair of kills from Madelyn Robinson and an ace from Stef Jankiewicz would close out the set for Utah.
There was little separation in the second set until a 6-0 run by the Utes left the Mustangs trailing 12-6 despite a Cal Poly timeout in the midst of the run. A short rally from the Mustangs pulled the score to within just two points, but Zoe Weatherington stopped the string of points with a timely kill. Utah went on to score four of the next six points to build the lead back out to 21-16. After a Cal Poly sideout, Utah closed out the set with four straight points, which included two blocks and another Robinson kill, to win 25-17 once again.
Utah completed its second-straight sweep of the season after limiting Cal Poly to just 0.054 hitting in the third set. Drews collected seven kills in the frame, while Robinson added four kills to end her match. The third set was tight once again to begin until midway through the frame when Utah led 13-10 and scored eight of the next ten points to hold a 21-12 lead. A statement kill from Drews put Utah in position to close out the match, while Allie Olsen put down the final point to complete the sweep.
Drews led the team with 14 kills, while Robinson tallied her second double-digit kill effort of the season with 10 kills. Weatherington followed with seven kills, while Evans added five kills to the count. Jankiewicz dished out 21 assists in two sets of play and Emily Smith posted 14 assists in the third set.
Vanessa Ramirez was on a mission against the Mustangs and collected a match-high 12 digs for Utah's defense. Ramirez, along with Megan Yett, also had three service aces each of Utah's 10 total. Evans totaled five blocks and Weatherington recorded four blocks to lead Utah at the net. Utah bested Cal Poly in kills (44-27), assists (37-23), digs (41-32), aces (10-3) and blocks (10.0-6.0).