Utah Picks Up First Pac-12 Win of the Season Over Oregon, Splits Sunday's Play
TUCSON, Ariz. – Utah Beach Volleyball earned its first Pac-12 win of the season on Sunday evening, downing the Oregon Ducks 3-2, while the Utes dropped a match to No. 8 Stanford 4-1 earlier in the day. Utah's win over Oregon is the program's first-ever conference win in the regular season with the previous Pac-12 wins coming at the Pac-12 Championships.
The day started with the fourth-straight match against a top-8 ranked opponent in the Cardinal. Stanford quickly took a 2-0 lead in the match after taking the top two courts in straight sets, however, Utah continued to fight and pushed a pair of courts to three sets. The highlight of the match came from Sydney Jacinto and Kylie Pitzak as the duo managed to take the first set 21-19. Although dropping the next set, the freshman pair regrouped and pulled out a 15-10 win in the third set to get Utah on the board. The third and fourth pairs for the Utes couldn't overcome Stanford's pairs and ultimately fell to the tough opponent.
Looking to bounceback, Utah started off the match against Oregon by taking first sets on courts two, three and five. Oregon took a 2-0 lead after the 4s and 1s wrapped up. Pitzak and Jacinto continued to be a bright spot for the Utes as the duo continued momentum from the Stanford match and would close out their court in straight sets 21-17, 21-15 to go undefeated on Sunday.
Trailing 2-1 still, both pairs of Marissa Koch/Samantha Leight and Bella Vezzani/Grace Andrews for the Utes let the second sets slide and would find themselves battling in third sets to keep Utah's chances of a win alive.
Koch and Leight traded points from the end of the set and could find no separation. With multiple match points for both squads, both the Utes and Ducks found a way to continue earning a sideout and saw the marathon match continue. Meanwhile, Andrews and Vezzani built a 13-10 in their third set and were in a position to close out the court for a point. Koch and Leight finally recorded consecutive points to win their contested set 22-20, while not long after was it Vezzani and Andrews clinching the dual with a 15-12 win.
Utah will take a break from Pac-12 play for a weekend as the team is set to play six matches Apr. 1-3 in California. Utah will first travel to Irvine, Calif., to take on Master's University and Concordia Irvine on Friday, Apr. 1. The Utes then continue action with matches against host Irvine Valley College and CSU Bakersfield on Saturday. The highlight of the trip will be on Sunday when the team competes at Manhattan Beach for neutral site matches against Hawaii and Loyola Marymount.
#8 Stanford 4, Utah 1
1. Kate Reilly/Charlie Ekstrom (STAN) def. Grace Andrews/Bella Vezzani (UU), 21-10, 21-11
2. Maddi Kriz/Emmy Sharp (STAN) def. Amaya Messier/Sage Patchell (UU), 21-12, 23-21
3. Emma Morris/Maya Harvey (STAN) def. Samantha Leight/Marissa Koch (UU), 18-21, 21-12, 17-15
4. Serena Turner/Taylor Wilson (STAN) def. Lauren Sayre/Sommer Daniel (UU), 21-17, 21-18
5. Kylie Pitzak/Sydney Jacinto (UU) def. Jordan McKinney/Kylee Matheson (STAN), 21-19, 8-21, 15-10
Order of finish: 1,2,3,5,4
Utah 3, Oregon 2
1. Brooke Nuneviller/Reagan Hope (ORE) def. Sage Patchell/Amaya Messier (UU), 23-21, 21-11
2. Grace Andrews/Bella Vezzani (UU) def. Daley McClellan/Madelyn LaFollette (ORE) 21-17, 17-21, 15-12
3. Marissa Koch/Samantha Leight (UU) def. Alex Laita/Bea Wetton (ORE), 21-17, 10-21, 22-20
4. Ashely Schroeder/Ella Tyus (ORE) def. Sommer Daniel/Lauren Sayre (UU), 21-12, 21-18
5. Kylie Pitzak/Sydney Jacinto (UU) def. Savannah Siegrist/Batia Rotshtein (ORE) 21-17, 21-15
Order of finish: 4,1,5,3,2