No. 18 Utah Volleyball Suffers Setback Against Arizona State
SALT LAKE CITY – The No. 18-ranked University of Utah volleyball team fell to Arizona State in four sets (23-25, 23-25, 27-25, 26-28) on Friday night after failing to find enough consistency throughout the match. Utah struggled to find its groove in each area of the game throughout the night and ultimately dropped to 12-6 overall this season and 5-4 in Pac-12 play.
Neither team started the match in rhythm offensively as the Utes hit .095 in the opening frame and the Sun Devils hit .109. Arizona State pushed out in front 12-8 and managed to hold onto the lead as the set played on. A 4-1 run left Utah needing to call timeout with the first set slowly slipping away, trailing 22-15. Out of the break, the Utes rattled off an 8-1 run as the tempo of the match began to favor Utah. Even with the late push, Utah was unable to get over the hump as Arizona State collected consecutive kills to end the set 25-23.
The second set played out much like the first had where Utah found itself down early and playing from behind. With the Sun Devil lead at 14-10, a kill from Dani Drews, consecutive kills from Zoe Weatherington, followed by an ace from Vanessa Ramirez evened the set at 14-14.
The two teams went back and forth until the Sun Devils used another 4-1 run to earn set point with the lead sitting at 24-21. A service error and a Drews kill cut the lead to just one point, but Arizona State's Iman Isanovic recorded her seventh kill of the frame to end it 25-23 and put Utah in a 2-0 hole. Drews posted seven kills and six digs in the set, while Weatherington added five kills and a pair of blocks.
Utah turned things around in the third set and this time played out in front. Midway through the set, the Utes pushed out to a 16-12 lead following a kill from Madelyn Robinson as momentum seemed to be on Utah's side. The Sun Devils responded and scored five of the next six points to tie the set 17-17.
After trading points once again, Robinson came up big with a crucial kill to earn set point, but ASU countered with consecutive kills to pull ahead 25-24. An attack error tied the set and Weatherington and Allie Olsen gave the Utes a timely block to pull ahead once again. Drews put down a kill from the backrow to take the set 27-25 and trail just 2-1 in the match.
The tides turned in the fourth set and Utah fell in a hole early. Three points in a row for the Sun Devils pushed a lead to 14-10 just before the media timeout. Arizona State continued to hang onto the lead, but the Utes rallied for a 6-1 run and took their first lead of the set at 19-18. The teams went point-for-point until Arizona State collected a kill from Isanovic and then a block to have set point at 24-23. Robinson sent a ball cross-court for a kill, but ASU matched it with a kill of its own to regain the lead.
Robinson brought the crowd to its feet with a huge block, which was then followed by a service ace from Stef Jankiewicz to give Utah another set point at 26-25. The rally would ultimately come up short after the Sun Devils scored three points in a row to walk away with the 3-1 upset over Utah following a 28-26 fourth set win.
Drews finished the night with 23 kills and 16 digs for her sixth double-double of the season. Robinson added 14 kills and nine digs, while Weatherington totaled 12 kills and a team-high six blocks. Jankiewicz ended the match with 47 assists and Vanessa Ramirez boasted 20 digs, which marked the second 20 digs or more mark of her career. Olsen also added five blocks.
Utah will take on Arizona this Sunday, Oct. 24 to close out the weekend at home. The Utes and Wildcats will play at 1 p.m. MT inside the Huntsman Center and the match will be live streamed.