No. 10 Utah Volleyball Falls To No. 15 BYU In Provo
PROVO, Utah – The No. 10-ranked Utah volleyball team fell in straight sets (23-25, 23-25, 16-25) to the No. 15-ranked BYU Cougars on Thursday night at Smith Fieldhouse in Provo, Utah. After playing from behind the entire night, Utah couldn't get it done on the road and dropped to 7-2 on the season as the Utes look to conference play beginning next Wednesday.
Utah scored the first three points of the match, but it did not take long for the hosts to settle in as BYU began to pull away in the middle of the opening frame. The Cougars used the momentum of the packed Smith Fieldhouse to build a 20-13 lead. Utah responded and scored seven of the next nine points to cut the lead to just 22-20.
After a BYU sideout, a service error and a timely kill from Madelyn Robinson forced BYU to call timeout with the lead sitting at 23-22. BYU earned a kill out of the timeout and an Allie Olsen kill would keep Utah alive, but BYU's Kennedy Eschenberg ended the hopes of a comeback, taking the set 25-23.
The second set played out similar to the first set where BYU gained a big lead early on and Utah came charging back, but it was too little too late once again. The Utes trailed 21-10 before outscoring the Cougars 13 of the next 16 points, cutting the lead to 24-23. The effort was again stopped just before the Utes could even the score as Eschenberg once again closed out the set 25-23.
Utah started the third set in the lead, however, BYU didn't take long to get back out on top and used six straight points to force an early Utah timeout after suddenly trailing 8-5. Utah couldn't cut into the gap and the Cougars continued to pour it on, taking a 18-11 lead in the third set. The Utes started to gain some momentum after Zoe Weatherington and Dani Drews put down consecutive kills, which were followed by a Utah block and BYU hitting error. The Utes eventually cut the score to trail only 19-16, but the Cougars scored the next six points to close out the set 25-16 and win the match.
Robinson was the sole Ute to hit double-digit kills in the match after collecting 10 kills. She also added six digs and three blocks for Utah. Drews posted seven kills and Weatherington added six kills. Vanessa Ramirez tallied 15 digs to lead the Ute defense, while Stef Jankiewicz dished out 15 assists and Emily Smith added eight assists.
Utah will be back in action next Wednesday, Sept. 22, beginning Pac-12 play on the road at No. 7-ranked Washington. The Utes and Huskies will battle at 9 p.m. MT on ESPNU at Alaska Airlines Arena.