Drews Becomes Utah's All-Time Kills Leader As Utah Sweeps USC Friday Night
LOS ANGELES – On a historic night for Dani Drews, who became the Utah volleyball all-time leader in kills, the Utes (11-3, 4-1 Pac-12) downed the USC Trojans (6-8, 2-3 Pac-12) in a sweep (25-22, 25-23, 25-23) at the Galen Center on Friday night. Drews posted 17 kills in the match to surpass former teammate Adora Anae's school-record 1,920 career kills and sit on top of the record book.
"I couldn't be more happy for Dani," said head coach Beth Launiere. "She has worked hard for the record and has earned this. It was a special moment in the locker room after the match for her and for our team to be a part of. Tonight we executed at a high level from start to finish. We never really had any drop offs and it was really solid play throughout the match."
Utah opened the match firing on all cylinders, hitting a scorching .459 in the opening frame. Although Utah's offense was converting at a high rate, USC was keeping up the pace on the other side of the net with a .314 hitting percentage. The Utes jumped out to a 16-12 lead, but a 4-1 run from the Trojans cut the gap to 17-16.
The teams went point for point until Utah put together two in a row from consecutive kills from Drews and Kennedi Evans, taking a 23-20 lead. A few points later, Madelyn Robinson ended the set 25-22 with her fifth kill of the frame. Drews opened the match with seven kills on .429 hitting.
The offense cooled off for both teams in the second set, but the frame was just as competitive. No team led by more than two points until Utah scored three in row to take a 19-16 lead. USC cut the lead to just one point right after, but Utah managed to regain a three-point lead (22-19) after a kill from Robinson and block from Zoe Weatherington and Allie Olsen. The Trojans went on a 3-1 run to trail just 23-22, but an attack error ended the spurt and gave Utah set point. USC earned a block to keep the set going, but Evans put Utah in position to go for a sweep with a kill to end the second set 25-23.
It was Utah's pin hitters in the third set that willed the Utes to victory with Drews collecting five kills and Robinson adding four kills. After starting off with another tightly contested set, Utah pulled away to a 19-15 lead. USC managed to go on a 3-0 run, forcing a Utah timeout with the lead cut to one point. A kill from Robinson and an attack error put Utah back up three points, however after a USC timeout, the Trojans rattled off five-straight points to take a 23-21 lead.
Drews finally ended the run with a kill, while Weatherington followed with a huge block to tie the set at 23-23. Drews then sent back another one with a solo block before finishing the match with her 17th kill of the night to complete the sweep and win the set 25-23.
Drews added 13 digs for her fifth double-double of the season, while Robinson had herself another double-double with 12 kills and 13 digs. Her fifth double-double of the year saw the 12 kills come with zero errors and a .462 hitting percentage.
Stef Jankiewicz dished out 37 assists and tallied nine digs, while Vanessa Ramirez posted 13 digs. Evans had six kills and six blocks, and Weatherington added seven kills to the count.
No. 15 Utah will be back in action Sunday, Oct. 10 for a Sunday matinee match against No. 16 UCLA in Los Angeles. The Utes and Bruins will have first serve at 1 p.m. MT at Pauley Pavilion. The match will be live streamed.