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Utah Beach Volleyball Opens 2022 Season at San Jose State

Feb 23, 2022

Match 1: Utah (0-0) vs. Santa Clara (0-0)
Friday, Feb. 25 | 1 p.m. MT
San Jose, Calif. | San Jose State University
Match 2: Utah (0-0) vs. Concordia University Irvine (0-0)
Friday, Feb. 25 | 3 p.m. MT
San Jose, Calif. | San Jose State University
Match 3: Utah (0-0) at San Jose State (0-0)
Saturday, Feb. 26 | 10 a.m. MT
San Jose, Calif. | San Jose State University
Match 4: Utah (0-0) vs. Ottawa University (0-0)
Saturday, Feb. 26 | 1 p.m. MT
San Jose, Calif. | San Jose State University

The Utah beach volleyball team will open the 2022 season with four matches in San Jose, Calif., to get the spring slate started. The Utes will make the trek out to San Jose State University for their season opener this Friday, Feb. 25 with the first match coming against Santa Clara, which is scheduled for 1 p.m. MT. The second match of the day will be against Concordia University Irvine at 3 p.m. MT. The event will be held at the Spartan Beach Volleyball courts.
The Utes will be back in action Saturday, Feb. 26, when they take on tournament host San Jose State at 10 a.m. MT. Then at 1 p.m. MT, Utah will close out the opening weekend against Ottawa University.
• Brenda Whicker is entering her fifth season at the helm of the program. This will be the first season Whicker will have a roster filled with primarily beach-recruited student-athletes. There are just two indoor players on this year's roster.
• Utah will host its sole home event of the year on Friday and Saturday, Apr. 22-23. Utah will host Salt Lake Community College, Arizona, Boise State, and Cal Poly to Salt Lake City.
• Utah is scheduled to play nine teams ranked in the top-20 of the AVCA preseason poll.
 • Utah has four returners on this year's roster, while the team welcomes 10 newcomers. Eight of the 10 newcomers are freshman, while the other two student-athletes joined the squad from the indoor volleyball team.
Utah returns four contributors from last season's team in sophomores Grace Andrews, Marissa Koch, and Camille Lee, along with senior Sage Patchell. Koch and Patchell where the Utes' top pair for the majority of the season last year, while Andrews played primarily on court two with appearances on court one and three as well. Lee was a constant force on court three with a handful of competitions coming from court two as well. With many freshmen on the team, Utah will look to its returning four to lead the young team.
The Utes welcome eight new freshmen to this year's team and the first class of solely beach-recruited players. Lauren Sayre and Samantha Leight hail from Arizona, and Bella Vezzani and Amya Messier join the program from Colorado. The team's largest group of freshmen comes from the state best known for beach volleyball – California - with Sydney Jacinto, Kylie Pitzak, Sonja Wessel, and Keira Sheehan all coming in from around the state. All freshmen will look to make an impact immediately as the bulk of the roster is made up from this recruiting class.

Senior setter Stef Jankiewicz came to the U from Illinois State as a graduate transfer with intentions to play beach volleyball. Originally transferring to Utah for beach, Jankiewicz also ended up helping on the hardwood where she helped guide the Utah Volleyball team to a 22-9 record and a postseason victory over Utah Valley in the NCAA Tournament. Jankiewicz filled the setter role for the team starting all 31 matches where she led the team in assists (1,129) and earned All-Pac-12 honorable mention honors. Sophomore Sommer Daniel is also making the switch from indoor to the sand this spring as she will look to make contributions to both squads. Daniel, who has been primarily a setter and defensive specialist for the indoor squad, saw action in six matches during the fall.

Utah beach volleyball is set to compete in a very competitive non-conference slate in preparation of a stacked Pac-12 Conference. The Utes will take on preseason ranked teams in Grand Canyon, Hawaii, Loyola Marymount, and Cal Poly before facing five ranked Pac-12 squads. The Utes play in the San Jose State tournament this weekend, followed by a round-robin at Colorado Mesa in two weeks. Utah will face Grand Canyon before heading to a Pac-12 event, while non-conference play will resume once again the following week. The non-conference slate is highlighted by the opportunity to play at Manhattan Beach at the beginning of April when the Utes face Loyola Marymount and Hawaii. For a full look at the schedule, click here.
Utah beach volleyball will take a week off from competition before returning to action on Friday and Saturday, March 11-12. The Utes will head to Grand Junction, Colo., to play at Colorado Mesa with a pair of matches coming against the hosts, and the other two matches to be played against Trinidad State and Salt Lake Community College.