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Pac-12 Play Starts With Home Showdown With No. 15 Utes

Sep 20, 2021


#6 Washington hosts #15 Utah • 8:00 pm
Alaska Airlines Arena
Live broadcast on ESPNU | Live Stats

#6 Washington at Washington State • 12:00 pm
Pullman, Wash. • Bohler Gym
Live on Pac-12 Networks National | Live Stats

SEATTLE -- The long road to the Pac-12 championship begins for the conference's twelve volleyball teams this week. No. 6 Washington and No. 15 Utah both hope to be in the mix at the end of November, but for starters the teams will battle it out at 8 p.m. Wednesday night at Alaska Airlines Arena. The match will be televised live nationally on ESPNU. The Huskies will then have a few days to prep for Pullman, as visit Washington State on Sunday, Sept. 26, at 12 noon on Pac-12 Networks. It will be the first meeting in the Boeing Apple Cup Series since 2019.

Washington enters Pac-12 play with a 7-1 record, its only loss in the first week of the season at then-No. 11 Ohio State. The Huskies have won six straight since that match, but survived a battle in their home opener last week against Montana State, winning their first five set match of the season. UW then swept Fresno State later that day for its first sweep since the season opener.

The Huskies are leading the Pac-12 after nonconference play with a .296 attack percentage and they are also first in service aces per set at 1.87. Claire Hoffman ranks sixth with 4.00 kills per set and her .362 attack percentage is highest among players ranked in the top-20. Marin Grote is second in the conference with a .421 attack percentage. Ella May Powell is fourth with 10.26 assists per set.

The Utes won their first seven matches of the season, capped by a comeback from 0-2 down to win at then-No. 3 Nebraska, but lost their last two matches at Boise State and at No. 15 BYU. Defending Pac-12 Player of the Year Dani Drews returned for a fifth season and leads the team with 4.79 kills per set, hitting .263. Madelyn Robinson (3.03) and Zoe Weatherington (2.52) are second and third on the team in termination. Drews, Robinson, and Megan Yett are all tied with 12 service aces, as Utah averages 1.76 per set. Utah also ranks third in the Pac-12 with 2.85 blocks per set. The Huskies are on a three-match win streak in the series, all three coming in Seattle, but prior to the current streak, Utah had won three in a row.

The Cougars had a challenging first four matches, losing all four but with two top-10 opponents in Pittsburgh and Purdue in that stretch. Since then WSU has won six in a row to go 6-4 entering league play. The Cougars will host Colorado first on Wednesday. Setter Hannah Pukis, an All-America honorable mention in the spring, is second in the Pac-12 with 10.60 assists per set and adds 2.63 digs per set. All-Pac-12 OH Pia Timmer is posting 3.59 kills per set to lead the offense. All-Pac-12 middle blocker Magda Jehlarova is hitting .412 with 2.31 kills per set. As a team, WSU his hitting .250 so far this season. The Huskies and Cougars did not play last season, and prior to that WSU won both 2018 matches and has won two in a row in Pullman.