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No. 17 Utah Volleyball Wins Fourth Straight, Dominates California Thursday Night

Nov 18, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY – No. 17 Utah volleyball cruised past California on Thursday night, downing the Golden Bears in straight sets (25-14, 25-9, 25-13) in the dominant victory at the Jon M. Huntsman Center. Now the winners of four-straight matches and seven of its last eight, Utah improved to 19-7 overall this season and 12-5 in Pac-12 play.

Returning to Salt Lake City for the final four matches of the regular season, Utah opened the match in fashion, hitting .321 and recording five service aces in the 25-14 first-set victory. The Utes jumped out to a 14-4 lead following nine points in a row, which included a pair of aces from Dani Drews. California finally ended the run the next point, but a 4-0 run from Utah put the set to 18-5. Drews put down a kill for set point, and after three consecutive points from the Golden Bears, Drews ended the frame with her fifth kill of the set.

Utah continued to turn up the heat in the second set and went on to hit .500 as a unit, highlighted by a monstrous eight kills on nine swings (.889) for Drews. Utah put together a 10-1 run that again set the tone early, allowing the Utes to build a 20-7 lead and never look back. Utah finished the second set out by scoring five points in a row, which included three kills, a block and an ace to take the 25-9 commanding win.

Out of the quick break, Utah picked up right where it left off and scored nine consecutive points to lead 9-1 right from the get-go. Another large run of six-straight points left Utah leading 15-2 at the midway mark and easily cruised to the 25-13 win to complete the sweep over California Thursday night. Zoe Weatherington improved her kill count in the third set after totaling five kills on five swings.

Utah finished the match hitting .370 as all eight hitters who entered the game recorded at least one kill. Drews led the team with 13 kills on a .706 clip in just two sets of play, while Weatherington posted nine kills on .727 hitting. Amelia Van Der Werff posted six kills (.400), Abby Karich added four kills, while Madelyn Robinson and Phoebe Grace each added three. Grace also led the squad with three blocks.

Stef Jankiewicz posted 16 assists in the sweep and Emily Smith dished out 11 assists. Leading the back row tonight were Vanessa Ramirez and Robinson, who each posted six digs, along with Megan Yett, who added five digs.

Another highlight of the evening was the tough serving as Utah recorded 11 aces, which marked the first match since Sept. 11 at Nebraska that the Utes have hit double-digit aces. Robinson posted three aces, while Jankiewicz, Drews and Smith all recorded a pair of aces.

No. 17 Utah will turn its attention to a matchup against No. 19 Stanford this Sunday, Nov. 21. The top-20 match between the Utes and Cardinal will begin at 12 p.m. MT inside the Jon M. Huntsman Center.