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Road Play Continues For Utah Volleyball At USC, No. 16 UCLA

Oct 5, 2021

Match 14: #15 Utah (10-3, 3-1 Pac-12) vs. USC (6-7, 2-2 Pac-12)
Friday, Oct. 8 | 8 p.m. MT
Los Angeles | Galen Center
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Live Stats: USC Stats

Match 15: #15 Utah (10-3, 3-1 Pac-12) vs. #16 UCLA (10-2, 3-1 Pac-12)
Sunday, Oct. 10 | 1 p.m. MT
Los Angeles | Pauley Pavilion
Stream: UCLA Live Stream
Live Stats: Statbroadcast
No. 15 Utah volleyball (10-3, 3-1 Pac-12) heads to Los Angeles this week for another stretch of road contests, playing at USC (6-7, 2-2 Pac-12) and No. 16 UCLA (10-2, 3-1 Pac-12) to continue conference action. Utah and USC will matchup Friday, Oct. 8 at 8 p.m. MT in the Galen Center. The match will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks with Jim Watson on the call.
Utah will close out the weekend in Los Angeles against UCLA on Sunday, Oct. 10 in Pauley Pavilion. The Utes and Bruins will have first serve at 1 p.m. MT and the match will be live streamed.
• Utah is ranked No. 15 in the AVCA Coaches Poll this week. It is the 35th-straight week Utah has been ranked, dating back to Sept. 2, 2019.
• Utah is No. 13 in the initial RPI rankings of the season and is the highest ranked Pac-12 team in the RPI.
• Utah has recorded four top-25 wins this season, which includes the two highest ranked wins on the road all-time (No. 3 Nebraska, No. 6 Washington).
• Utah is 7-0 in the Huntsman Center this season after going 8-0 at home last year. Including the start of this season, Utah has posted a 47-12 (.797) record at the Huntsman Center since 2017.
• Utah is 9-0 this season in matches when leading in digs, 9-0 when leading in hitting percentage, and 8-0 when leading in kills. Utah is also 7-1 this season when leading in blocks.
• Utah is 6-0 this season when hitting above .250 as a team, while the Utes are 7-0 when holding their opponent to .200 or below.
• Vanessa Ramirez has hit double-digit digs in all but one match this season. The sophomore libero leads the team with 3.52 digs per set.
• Stef Jankiewicz has posted a team-high seven double-doubles this season. Dani Drews and Madelyn Robinson have each posted four double-doubles, while Ramirez has two on the season.
• Drews has hit double-digit kills in 11 matches, while Robinson has posted 10 matches of 10 or more kills, including five straight.
• Utah is No. 29 in the nation in blocks per set (2.56) and fifth in the Pac-12.
• Utah ranks second in the Pac-12 in aces per set (1.60), third in assists per set (12.17) and digs per set 14.38), and fourth in kills per set (13.48).
• Dani Drews leads the Pac-12 and is No. 10 in the nation with 4.67 kills per set. She is also No. 1 in the Pac-12 and No. 11 in the nation with 5.28 points per set.
• Allie Olsen ranks fourth in the Pac-12 with 1.20 blocks per set.
Utah's match at USC will begin a four-match road swing for the team. Following the matches in Los Angeles this weekend and a pair of matches in the Bay Area in two weeks, Utah will have played nine of its last 11 contests on the road. The Utes began the long stretch of road play in Nebraska back on Sept. 11, and after the five-match road swing finally returned to the Huntsman Center for the first time on Oct. 1. The tough road schedule included a lineup of four out of five matches coming against ranked opponents - No. 3 Nebraska, No. 6 Washington, No. 15 BYU, No. 24 Colorado.

Dani Drews, who is a three-time All-American, has already set numerous program records during her Ute career and has the chance to become Utah's all-time kill leader. Drews has totaled 1,911 kills and sits second all-time in career kills behind former Utah teammate Adora Anae. Drews is just 10 kills away from surpassing Anae's program record 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.
USC has started conference action with wins over Washington State and California on the road, while falling to UCLA and Washington. The Trojans earned a key win over Hawaii in non-conference play to highlight the schedule and took then No. 21 San Diego to five sets before coming up short. USC is led by preseason All-Pac-12 team honoree Brooke Botkin, who is fifth in the Pac-12 with 4.06 kills per set and No. 42 in the country. Setter Raquel Lazaro dishes out 8.02 assists per set, while she leads the conference in aces per set with an average of 0.40. Utah has won the last five matches against USC in the series history, which includes three five setters.
The Bruins have posted a 10-2 record on the year and are coming off a weekend split against Washington and Washington State. UCLA picked up a win over then No. 17 Georgia Tech in non-conference play before earning its second ranked win over then No.14 Stanford in a five set reverse sweep. UCLA then continued its five set matches, dropping a 3-2 contest to Washington and winning the next at Washington State. The Bruins are led offensively by Mac May, who is coming off a 39 kill performance that earned her the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week honor. She is second in the Pac-12 behind Dani Drews with 4.35 kills per set and No. 26 in the nation. Utah and UCLA split last year's matchups in Los Angeles with both teams winning their respective match in four sets.
Utah returned to the Huntsman Center after five consecutive road matches and went 2-0 on the weekend with wins over Oregon State and No. 11 Oregon. The Utes rolled past the Beavers in three sets thanks to double-digit kills from Dani Drews and Madelyn Robinson, along with tough serving and net play from the team. Utah closed out the weekend with its fourth top-25 win after downing the Ducks in four sets. With the match tied 1-1, Utah regrouped and large enough leads in the third and fourth sets to control the match and remain undefeated at home. Drews, Robinson and Stef Jankiewicz all tallied double-doubles in the match to lead the way.
Utah volleyball stays on the road for another pair of conference matches, traveling to the Bay Area in two weeks. Utah will first take on Stanford on Thursday, Oct. 14 at 8:30 p.m. MT on ESPNU at Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto, Calif. The Utes will then play against California on Sunday, Oct. 17 at 2 p.m. MT at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif.