No. 17 Utah Comes Up Short at No. 18 Stanford
PALO ALTO, Calif. – No. 17-ranked Utah volleyball fell to No. 18 Stanford in four sets (24-26, 25-17, 22-25, 15-25) in the top-20 Pac-12 matchup on Thursday night. With the Utes struggling to find consistent offensive production, the Cardinal took advantage and dropped Utah to 11-5 overall and 4-3 in Pac-12 play to begin the road trip.
Utah managed to build a 12-5 lead early on in the first set, which was highlighted by a 5-0 run from the Utes to force a Stanford timeout. Despite gaining momentum early, Stanford responded and scored eight of the next nine points out of the timeout to tie the set 13-13. Utah regained a slight lead for the latter half of the set and a kill from Kennedi Evans eventually put Utah at set point, leading 24-21. Utah could not capitalize and saw Stanford go on a 5-0 run to steal the opening frame. Amelia Van Der Werff earned five kills on seven swings, hitting .714 in the first set, but the Utes as a whole were limited to .139 hitting.
The scripts flipped for Utah in the second set after the offense hit a .357 clip and limited the Cardinal to a .118 hitting percentage. The Utes started from behind to begin the set, but earned an 11-10 lead from a block from Evans and Madelyn Robinson. After going back and forth and holding a lead at 18-17, Allie Olsen recorded a kill that sparked a 7-0 run to end the second set and see Utah win it 25-17 to even the match 1-1.
Utah played from behind in the third set and despite many efforts to pull ahead, the Cardinal stopped Utah time and time again. Utah pulled within one point to trail just 17-16 after another Drews kill, but Stanford scored four of the next six points to force a Utah timeout with the lead pushed to 21-18.
A few points later, Van Der Werff continued her stellar night with a timely kill and the next point earned a block with Emily Smith to tie the set 22-22. Stanford earned the sideout from a kill, which was followed by a Cardinal block and another kill to end the late rally from Utah, giving Stanford a 2-1 lead.
Utah quickly fell in a hole to start the fourth set and not long after saw Stanford go on an 8-3 run to take a commanding 17-9 lead. Drews ended the string of points with a kill to start a 4-0 run for the Utes and cut the lead to just 17-13. The efforts to get back in the match ended after a Stanford timeout where the Cardinal scored seven of the next eight points and then ultimately ended the match 25-15. The Utes had their lowest hitting percentage of the match, hitting .059 in the final set compared to Stanford's .361.
Drews posted a match-high 20 kills, while Van Der Werff had a season-high 11 kills on 15 swings (.667) in her first career start as a Ute. She also tied her career high in blocks, totaling a team-high of five. Stef Jankiewicz totaled 35 assists and seven digs, while Vanessa Ramirez added a team-high eight digs.
Allie Olsen also added four blocks in two sets of play and recorded five kills on seven swings (.714). Megan Yett recorded seven digs as well.
Utah will be back in action this Sunday, Oct. 17 against the California Golden Bears. Utah and Cal will meet at 2 p.m. MT at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif., with the match being televised on the Pac-12 Networks.