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No. 17 Utah Volleyball Gets Back On Track, Sweeps California

Oct 17, 2021

BERKELEY, Calif. – No. 17 Utah volleyball cruised to its sixth sweep of the season on Sunday afternoon, downing California in three sets (26-24, 25-20, 25-19) at Haas Pavilion. The Utes hit .333 in the match, while limiting the Golden Bears to a .160 clip to move to 12-5 overall this season and 5-3 in Pac-12 play.

"I am pleased with getting the win today," said head coach Beth Launiere. "We played a very clean and well executed match. With that said, I could not be more excited for our players, fans, family and friends to be coming home to the Huntsman Center next weekend."

Utah played from behind to begin the match until a 4-0 run gave Utah its first lead of the set at 9-8. The teams traded punches as the set continued on, but Cal began to find some momentum after scoring four in a row to take a 19-17 lead and force Utah to call timeout. Although an attack error out of the timeout ended the run, Utah couldn't score more than one point at a time and eventually saw Cal take a 23-21 lead.

Dani Drews took control of the set and after three kills in a row, Utah had earned itself set point. Cal recorded a kill, but another kill from Drews earned another set point, and a block from Stef Jankiewicz and Allie Olsen would end the set 26-24. Drews totaled eight kills in the frame and hit .438, while Allie Olsen added in four kills on five swings. 

The Utes took control early in the second set after using an 8-1 run to push the lead to 13-8. Of the eight points, six came from Utah kills with Amelia Van Der Werff earning three kills, Olsen tallying two and Drews adding one in the mix. The Golden Bears trimmed the lead to just 15-13, but Utah responded with a 4-1 run to regain a five point lead. Drews, Zoe Weatherington and Madelyn Robinson hammered down kills late in the set, while a block from Weatherington and Olsen earned the 25-20 victory for the 2-0 lead in the match.

Looking to complete the sweep, Utah didn't waste any time in the third set and led 10-3 to start. Cal countered and scored five of the next six points to trail Utah only 11-8. From that point on, the two teams went point-for-point until Utah scored two consecutive, which pushed the lead to 18-13. The Bears began stringing together runs of points and eventually trailed only 21-19. Jankiewicz went over on the second ball to have her kill put Utah ahead 22-19. The Utes went on to score the next three points to complete the sweep with the third-set victory of 25-19.

Drews led the team with 15 kills and nine digs, while Utah's middles of Van Der Werff and Olsen had big performances as well. Olsen tallied a career-high nine kills and also recorded five blocks, while Van Der Werff added eight kills. Olsen and Van Der Werff had zero errors today, hitting .692 and .667, respectively.

Jankiewicz led the fiery offense today with 36 assists, guiding Utah to a .333 hitting percentage in the match, which tied for the second-best percentage of the season for the Utes. Vanessa Ramirez posted a team-high 10 digs, while Madelyn Robinson collected eight. Utah also finished with six blocks, while Cal did not record any.

No. 17 Utah will return to the Jon M. Huntsman Center next weekend to host Arizona and Arizona State. The Utes will first take on the Sun Devils on Friday, Oct. 22 at 6 p.m. MT. The match will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks. Utah and Arizona will wrap up the weekend on Sunday, Oct. 24, playing at 1 p.m. MT in Salt Lake City.