Utah Volleyball Set To Face Utah Valley Friday To Begin NCAA Tournament
NCAA Tournament Second Round: Winner of Utah/Utah Valley vs. Winner of #11 BYU/Boise State
Saturday, Dec. 4 | 7 p.m. MT
Provo, Utah | Smith Fieldhouse
Utah volleyball is set for its sixth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance beginning this Friday, Dec. 3 against the Utah Valley Wolverines in the first round of the Provo Regional. Utah and Utah Valley will open postseason play at 4 p.m. MT at Smith Fieldhouse in Provo, Utah. The match will be streamed on ESPN+, while live stats will be available here.
The other side of the regional will feature 11th-seeded BYU and Boise State. The two teams will also play on Friday with first serve set for 7 p.m. MT. The winner of Utah/Utah Valley and BYU/Boise State will move on to the second round, which will be played Saturday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. MT at Smith Fieldhouse. The Round of 32 match will also be streamed on ESPN+.
Fans can purchase tickets online via byutickets.com. Tickets will be available starting on Tuesday, Nov. 30 at 10 a.m. MT when general admission tickets go on sale. Beginning at 3 p.m. MT, reserved seating that is still available will go on sale to the general public. Per the BYU Athletics Department requirements, fans in attendance must wear a mask when inside indoor venues. Masks will be required for entry to the Smith Fieldhouse.
• Utah was ranked No. 16 in the final AVCA Coaches Poll of the regular season (Nov. 29). It is the 43rd-straight week Utah has been ranked, dating back to Sept. 2, 2019. Utah also ended the regular season No. 20 in the nation in the RPI rankings.
• Utah will make its fourth appearance at the Provo Regional in six years with this Friday's match. In the last Provo Regional, Utah picked up a first-round win over Illinois in five sets before recording a sweep over host No. 15 BYU to earn the program's fourth Sweet Sixteen appearance.
• The Utes finished third place in the Pac-12 for the third year in a row with a 14-6 record. The 14 Pac-12 wins ties a program-best since joining the league, which was set in 2019.
• Utah has recorded six top-25 wins this season, which includes the two highest ranked wins on the road all-time (No. 3 Nebraska, No. 6 Washington).
After a stellar Pac-12 season for Utah, four student-athletes were rewarded for their efforts during the season as Dani Drews and Madelyn Robinson were named to the All-Pac-12 first team, while Stef Jankiewicz and Zoe Weatherington landed on the honorable mention squad. Drews earned her fourth consecutive first-team All-Pac-12 honor after leading the conference with 5.24 kills per set this season and a league-best 5.45 kills per set during Pac-12 play. Robinson tallied her second conference honor after posting 2.92 kills per set in Pac-12 play, which ranks second on the team behind Drews. Jankiewicz finished the conference season averaging 10.99 assists per set, which ranks third, while Weatherington averaged 2.47 kills per set to aid Utah's offense. For the full release, click here.
IN THE RANKINGS
• Dani Drews leads the Pac-12 and is No. 3 in the nation in kills per set (5.24). She is also first in the Pac-12 and No. 4 in the nation in points per set (5.81).
• Stef Jankiewicz is fourth in the Pac-12 in assists per set (10.46) and No. 42 in the nation.
• Amelia Van Der Werff is fifth in the Pac-12 in hitting percentage (.363).
• Utah leads the Pac-12 in kills per set (14.26) and is ninth in the nation.
• Utah is third in the Pac-12 in assists per set (12.83) and is No. 24 in the nation, while the Utes rank fourth in the conference in hitting percentage (.257) and No. 34 in the nation.
• Utah is the only team in the Pac-12 to rank in the top-five of the conference in every statistical category; kills per set (1st), assists per set (3rd), opponent hitting percentage (3rd), aces per set (4th), hitting percentage (4th), blocks per set (5th), digs per set (5th).
BY THE NUMBERS
• Utah is 15-2 this season when hitting above .250 as a team, while the Utes are 15-0 when holding their opponent to .200 or below.
• Utah is 19-1 this season when leading in attack percentage and is also 14-1 when leading in blocks.
• Utah is 17-3 when leading in kills, 16-3 when leading in digs, and 15-3 when leading in aces.
• Dani Drews has hit double-digit kills in 27 of 29 matches, while Robinson has posted 17 matches of 10 or more kills and Zoe Weatherington has totaled 13 double-digit kill matches.
• Vanessa Ramirez has hit double-digit digs in 22 matches this season and has posted three matches of 20 digs or more.
• Drews has posted a team high 11 double-doubles, while Stef Jankiewicz has 10, Madelyn Robinson has seven and Ramirez has two on the season.
SCOUTING UTAH VALLEY
Utah Valley earned its second-straight NCAA Tournament berth after winning three straight matches at the WAC Tournament to earn the league's automatic bid. The Wolverines finished the year 16-12 and 8-6 in WAC play. Utah Valley led the conference in blocks per set (2.72) and is No. 11 in the nation. Utah and Utah Valley have met twice this season already with the Utes posting a season-opening four set win in Orem before sweeping the Wolverines the following day in Salt Lake City. Utah Valley is led by WAC Tournament champion and the program's first ever AVCA All-American Kazna Tanuvasa, who averages 3.60 kills per set this season. Kendra Nock leads the WAC with 1.25 blocks per set and is No. 40 in the country.
SCOUTING BYU/BOISE STATE
BYU enters the weekend on a 21-match winning streak and holds just one loss on the season, sitting at 28-1 overall and 18-0 in West Coast Conference action. The Cougars pulled in the WCC Player, Setter, and Coach of the Year honors following the undefeated campaign. BYU's only loss of the season came to then- No. 4 Pitt. The Cougars picked up the meeting against the Utes earlier this season in Provo. BYU finished the regular season ranked second in the nation in hitting percentage (.339), fifth in kills per set (14.38), and No. 16 in assists per set (13.03). Heather Gneiting is third in the nation in hitting percentage (.464), while Kennedy Eschenberg is ninth (.424). Kenzie Koerber leads the team with 3.53 kills per set.
Boise State finished the year 24-10 and earned its second NCAA Tournament berth in program history following three straight wins at the Mountain West Tournament to claim the automatic bid. The 24 victories are tied for the third most all-time. Boise State earned the upset over Utah in four sets early on this season when the Utes were ranked a season-best No. 10 in the nation. The Broncos are seventh in the nation in blocks per set (2.82), No. 22 in aces per set (1.81), and No. 29 in hitting percentage (.262). Boise State is led by All-Mountain West selection Lauren Ohlinger and Danielle Boss, as well as MW Freshman of the Year Paige Bartsch.
LEAVING HER MARK
Dani Drews surpassed former teammate Adora Anae's school-record 1,920 career kills to sit on top of the all-time kills list. Drews sits at 2,232 career kills as Utah's newest all-time kills leader and is tied for third all-time on the conference career kills leaderboard. She also became just the sixth player in Pac-12 history to earn 2,000 kills and 1,000 digs in a career. Drews holds the single-season program record in kills (643, 2019) and the single-match record in kills in the rally-scoring era in three sets (22, 2018), four sets (30, 2x) and five sets (33, 2019). Drews also became the program's first-ever Pac-12 Player of the Year, the program's only two-time AVCA Pacific South Region Player of the Year, as well the only player to earn two AVCA First Team All-American awards. She is also a four-time All-Pac-12 honoree and has averaged over four kills per set the last four season; 4.14 k/s (2018), 4.69 k/s (2019), 5.21 k/s (2020), 5.24 k/s (2021).