No. 20 Utah Volleyball Hosts Weber State Thursday, Begins Five-Match Road Swing Saturday at No. 3 Nebraska
Match 6: #20 Utah (5-0) vs. Weber State (4-2)
Thursday, Sept. 9 | 7 p.m. MT
Salt Lake City, Utah | Huntsman Center
Stream: Utah Live Stream
Live Stats: Statbroadcast
Match 7: #20 Utah (5-0) at #3 Nebraska (5-0)
Saturday, Sept. 11 | 6:30 p.m. MT
Lincoln, Neb. | Devaney Center
Stream: Big Ten Plus
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Match 8: #20 Utah (5-0) at Boise State (5-1)
Monday, Sept. 13 | 3:30 p.m. MT
Lincoln, Neb. | Bronco Gym
Stream: Mountain West Network
Live Stats: StatBroadcast
Utah volleyball (5-0) is set for another busy week as the team is set to host Weber State (4-2) on Thursday, Sept. 9 before heading out of the state for the first time this season for a pair of road matches. Utah and Weber State will play in the Jon M. Huntsman Center at 7 p.m. MT.
Then, Utah will quickly turn its attention to third-ranked Nebraska (5-0) with the matchup set for Saturday, Sept. 11 in Lincoln, Neb. The Utes and Huskers will compete at 6:30 p.m. MT in the historic Devaney Center. Completing the road trip, Utah will make its next stop in Boise, Idaho to take on Boise State at 3:30 p.m. MT at Bronco Gym on Monday, Sept. 13.
• Utah dropped one spot in the most recent AVCA Coaches Poll and checks in at No. 20 in the nation after a 3-0 weekend at the Utah Classic with wins over then No. 22 San Diego, Hawaii and Cal Poly.
• Utah has recorded double-digit blocking efforts in all five matches of the season after recording just four total last season in 18 contests.
• Utah has also tallied 10 service aces in two matches this season, matching last year's two outings of double-digit service aces.
• Utah begins a stretch of five consecutive road matches with the contest at Nebraska. Utah will play at Nebraska, at Boise State, at BYU, at Washington and at Colorado before returning to the Huntsman Center on Oct. 1.
• Dani Drews is coming off her 52nd-straight match of 10 or more kills and the 93rd of her career.
• Vanessa Ramirez tallied double-digit digs for the fifth consecutive match and has led Utah in four of the five matches this season in digs.
• Stef Jankiewicz has tallied two double-doubles in a row, hitting double-digit assists and digs in back-to-back matches.
IN THE RANKINGS
• Utah leads the Pac-12 with 3.44 blocks per set and ranks No. 2 in the nation.
• Kennedi Evans leads the Pac-12 with 1.59 blocks per set and ranks No. 11 in the nation.
• Allie Olsen is No. 4 in the Pac-12 with 1.46 blocks per set and is No. 33 in the nation.
• Utah is No. 2 in the Pac-12 with 13.89 kills per set and ranks No. 32 in the nation.
• Dani Drews leads the Pac-12 with 4.72 kills per set and ranks No. 13 in the nation.
• Utah is No. 5 in the Pac-12 with a 0.281 hitting percentage and No. 30 in the nation.
SCOUTING WEBER STATE
Weber State begins the week at 4-2 this season and will play at Utah Valley on Wednesday before taking on the Utes on Thursday. The Wildcats have earned wins over Seton Hall, North Dakota, Utah State and Dixie State, while their losses were handed by BYU in five sets and a sweep from Michigan State. Weber State is led by the program's first ever All-American, Rylin Adams, who is contributing 4.22 kills per set this fall. Dani Nay is right behind Adams with 3.65 k/s. Weber State is coming off the program's first Big Sky Championship in the spring and the second appearance all-time at the NCAA Championships.
Nebraska is off to a 5-0 start on the year and has posted wins over Colgate, Kansas State, Omaha, Georgia and Arizona State to sit at a No. 3 ranking this week. The Huskers will play No. 19 Creighton on Wednesday before taking on Utah. Nebraska finished the spring campaign 16-3 and reached an NCAA regional final. Nebraska was ranked No. 6 to end the spring and opened the fall season ranked fifth. The Huskers return all but one starter from last spring, including Lexi Sun and Madi Kubik, who have led Nebraska this season with 2.84 kills per set and 2.78 k/s, respectively.
SCOUTING BOISE STATE
Boise State will play in a three-match tournament prior to the match against Utah, and enters the weekend 5-1. The Broncos have downed Dixie State, Long Beach State, Southern Utah, UC Irvine and George Mason. The sole loss came from Montana State in four sets. The Broncos were 10-5 last season, which led to a second place finish in the Mountain West. Boise State returns five starters and its libero from the spring, including Lauren Ohlinger, who is leading the team with 3.96 kills per set this fall.
Utah ranks second in the nation and first in the Pac-12 with 3.44 blocks per set. Six Utes have hit double-digit total block marks on the year through five matches, led by Kennedi Evans with a team-high 27.0. Evans is averaging 1.59 blocks per set, which leads the Pac-12 and is No. 11 in the nation. Fellow middle blocker Allie Olsen is adding to the team's count with 1.46 blocks per set and 19 total blocks this year. Also stepping up for the Utes is right side Zoe Weatherington, who has totaled 17 blocks.
Dani Drews, who is a three-time All-American, has already set numerous program records during her Ute career and could have the chance to become Utah's all-time kill leader. Drews has totaled 1,753 kills and sits second all-time in career kills behind former Utah teammate Adora Anae. Anae holds the program record at 1,920 kills.
Drews holds the single-season program record in kills (643, 2019) and the single-match record in kills in the rally-scoring era in three sets (22, 2018), four sets (30, 2x) and five sets (33, 2019). Drews also became the program's first-ever Pac-12 Player of the Year, the program's only two-time AVCA Pacific South Region Player of the Year, as well the only player to earn two AVCA First Team All-American awards.
LAST TIME OUT
Utah continued its undefeated season last weekend with wins over Cal Poly, No. 22 San Diego and Hawaii at the Utah Classic. The Utes rolled past Cal Poly in the tournament opener and then battled for wins over a ranked squad in San Diego and a resilient Hawaii team in four sets. Drews led the way over the weekend, hitting at a rate of 5.09 kills per set to be named the Utah Classic MVP. Joining her on the All-Tournament Team was Zoe Weatherington who hit double-digit kills in the final two matches behind Drews. Jankiewicz recorded two double-doubles and Ramirez posted 10-plus digs in every contest. Phoebe Grace also impressed in the match vs. Hawaii where she finished with nine total blocks to lead net play.
After Utah returns from Boise, Idaho, the Utes will stay local and prepare for a rivalry match at BYU on Thursday, Sept. 16. The Utes and Cougars will matchup at 7 p.m. MT at Smith Fieldhouse in Provo, Utah.