No. 19 Utes Pick Up Fourth Top-25 Win, Down No. 11 Ducks
SALT LAKE CITY – No. 19 Utah volleyball picked up its fourth win over a top-25 team on Sunday afternoon, remaining undefeated at home this season with a win over No. 11 Oregon in four sets (25-21, 16-25, 25-15, 25-19). The ranked win moved Utah to 10-3 overall and 3-1 in Pac-12 play, while the Utes handed Oregon its first loss of conference action (3-1) and dropped the Ducks to 12-2 overall.
"I could not be more proud of this team for getting two wins on a tough week for our program and the athletic department," said head coach Beth Launiere. "The resiliency and fight they showed this weekend was huge. Oregon is a really good team and I thought we played a great match. It meant everything to be back home in front of our fans after so long. I don't know if our fans always know this, but we feel the support and the Huntsman Center truly is home for us because of them."
Utah and Oregon opened the match with a competitive frame to set the tone for the whole match. The pair of ranked teams were tied 19-19 late, but Madelyn Robinson recorded a big kill to earn the sideout. Robinson's kill sparked a 6-2 run for the Utes that ended the set 25-21. Robinson totaled seven kills and no errors in the first set to lead the way.
The second set was tightly contested to start, but with Utah pulling a point ahead at 12-11, Oregon scored six unanswered points to jump ahead 17-12. A few points back and forth between the teams kept the lead to just four points, but another big string of points from Oregon put the set out of reach quickly and left the match tied 1-1.
Oregon picked up where it left the second set and jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the third frame, forcing Utah to call timeout. Utah responded immediately out of the break and scored eight of the next nine points to take an 8-5 lead. The Utes never looked back after recovering from the early deficit and held onto the lead throughout the set, eventually making way to a 25-16 victory. Led by Drews' six kills on .455 hitting, Utah posted a .345 hitting percentage in the third set, while Oregon hit just .156 to make the difference.
With the 2-1 lead in the Huntsman Center, Utah used its momentum early to gain a 10-5 lead. The Ducks rallied a bit to cut the Ute lead to just 12-10, but a pair of Duck errors gave Utah a little cushion midway through the frame. Utah extended the lead to five points, however after a pair of Oregon points, the Utes called a timeout with the lead sitting at 21-18. Zoe Weatherington earned the sideout for the Utes out of the timeout and Utah would score three of the next four points to end the set 25-19 and match 3-1.
Drews led the team with 19 kills and 11 digs for her fifth double-double of the year, while Robinson posted her fourth double-double on the year with 10 kills and 11 digs. Also recording an impressive stat line was setter Stef Jankiewicz, who earned 35 assists and a season-high 17 digs. She has now tallied seven double-doubles this season.
Vanessa Ramirez added 11 digs to the count, while Kennedi Evans led the team with three blocks at the net. Weatherington also added nine kills for Utah, while Phoebe Grace added four on seven swings. Utah led Oregon in hitting percentage (.207-.173), service aces (5-2), digs (61-54), and tied the Ducks with seven blocks on the day.
Utah volleyball will return to the road for the next four matches, first opening the two-week road swing in Los Angeles. Utah and USC will play this Friday, Oct. 8 at 8 p.m. MT in the Galen Center. The match between the Utes and Trojans will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks. Utah will then face No. 15 UCLA on Sunday, Oct. 10 at 1 p.m. MT in Pauley Pavilion.