No. 18 Utah Sweeps Arizona Sunday in Salt Lake City
SALT LAKE CITY – No. 18 Utah volleyball cruised past Arizona on Sunday afternoon, sweeping the Wildcats (25-19, 25-18, 25-21) at the Huntsman Center. With every hitter in the lineup recording at least six kills and posting the team's second-best hitting percentage of the season, Utah moved to 13-6 overall this season, 6-4 in Pac-12 play and 8-1 in Salt Lake City.
Utah improved as the match went on and was in a position of control from start to finish. The Utes hit .257, .387, and .484 in the three sets of play and led Arizona in every statistical category. Stef Jankiewicz led the fiery offense that combined to hit .371 in the match, finishing with 37 assists.
The well-rounded offensive efforts were led by Drews' 13 kills, while Weatherington added 10 kills. Van Der Werff ended the match with eight kills and zero errors to lead the team with a .889 hitting clip. Along with the offensive play, the defense was there to make it possible. Vanessa Ramirez once again led the team in digs, totaling 12 digs for her 16th double-digit dig effort of the year. Madelyn Robinson posted 11 digs, while Olsen finished with a match-high five blocks.
The Utes opened the match just going back and forth with the Wildcats until five consecutive points led to a 16-11 lead for Utah. Although Arizona tried cutting into the lead at times, the only large run of the first set proved to be the difference maker as Utah was able to hold onto its lead for the rest of the set and take a 25-19 win. Drews posted six kills and five digs in the opening frame, while Van Der Werff added three kills on four swings.
The second set started off evenly matched once again, but it was the Utes that scored a string of points to build some separation. The 4-0 run that started the momentum included kills from Weatherington and Drews that ultimately led to an Arizona timeout. The hot-hitting continued as Utah pushed out a lead to 22-15 and eventually took the set 25-18 for the 2-0 lead in the match. Jankiewicz managed to get everyone involved as all five Ute hitters she set recorded at least two kills in the frame.
Set three was the same story where Utah and Arizona battled closely to begin the frame, but Utah would ultimately break away in the middle - this time storming out to a 17-12 lead. The Wildcats clawed back into the match after scoring six of the next eight points to trail just 19-18. After a point from each team, Olsen put a timely kill down from the middle, which was followed by a kill from Drews to take a three-point lead at 22-19. Playing ahead down the stretch, Utah crushed the Arizona attempts for a comeback and went on to win the set following consecutive kills from Weatherington and Van Der Werff.
No. 18 Utah will hit the road to begin the second half of Pac-12 play. Utah will first take on Oregon this Friday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. MT in Eugene, Ore. The Utes and Ducks will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks at Matthew Knight Arena. Then, Utah will visit Oregon State for a Halloween matinee match on Sunday, Oct. 31 at 12 p.m. MT.