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No. 22 Utah Volleyball Hosts the Utah Classic To Open 2022 Season

Aug 22, 2022

Match 1: #22 Utah (0-0) at Loyola Marymount (0-0)
Friday, Aug. 26 | 10 a.m. MT
Salt Lake City, Utah | Jon M. Huntsman Center
Watch: Live Stream
Live Stats: StatBroadcast
 
Match 2: #22 Utah (0-0) vs. #23 Kansas (0-0)
Friday, Aug. 26 | 7 p.m. MT
Salt Lake City, Utah | Huntsman Center
Watch: Live Stream
Live Stats: StatBroadcast

Match 3: #22 Utah (0-0) vs. Utah Valley (0-0)
Saturday, Aug. 27 | 4 p.m. MT
Salt Lake City, Utah | Huntsman Center
Watch: Pac-12 Networks
Live Stats: StatBroadcast
 
MATCH WEEK
The No. 22-ranked Utah volleyball team is set to host the Utah Classic this Friday and Saturday, Aug. 26-27, to kick off the 2022 season. Utah will open its home tournament on Friday at 10 a.m. MT against Loyola Marymount, while welcoming No. 23 Kansas to the Huntsman Center at 7 p.m. MT. The final match of the tournament against Utah Valley will be played at 4 p.m. MT on Saturday and will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks. Fans are encouraged to wear white for the season openers on Friday. There will be free magnet schedules on the concourse this weekend. Tickets can be found here.
 
QUICK HITS
• Head coach Beth Launiere enters her 33rd season at the helm of the program. Utah Volleyball's winningest head coach heads into the fall season with a 623-384 career record.
• Including this year's preseason poll, Utah has now been ranked in the AVCA Coaches Poll for 45-straight weeks, dating back to the 2019 season.
• Utah has won 14 straight season openers and is 29-18 all-time (19-9 home) in season openers.
• Utah is coming off its sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and 18th overall.
• The Utes finished third in the Pac-12 Conference for the third year in row, collecting a program-record tying 14 Pac-12 wins in 2021.
• Utah returns eight letterwinners from last year's squad, highlighted by AVCA Pacific South All-Region selection Madelyn Robinson, and welcomes eight newcomers.
• Utah will play against 10 tournament teams from last year, including five Sweet 16 squads, and will appear on the Pac-12 Networks 14 times.
 
UTAH CLASSIC SCHEDULE

Friday, Aug. 26 10am Utah vs. Loyola Marymount
12pm Kansas vs. Utah Valley
5pm Utah Valley vs. Loyola Marymount
7pm Utah vs. Kansas
Saturday, Aug. 27 1pm Kansas vs. Loyola Marymount
4pm Utah vs. Utah Valley (Pac-12 Networks)

 
IN THE RANKINGS
Utah Volleyball continued its streak of weeks in the AVCA Coaches Poll, checking in at No. 22 in the AVCA Preseason Poll ahead of the 2022 fall season. The poll marks the sixth-straight season the Utes have been ranked or have received votes in the preseason poll. Utah has found itself among the top-25 of the nation in 45 consecutive polls, dating back to the poll on Sept. 2, 2019. The 45 weeks in a row in the AVCA Coaches Poll is tied for the longest stretch in program history, matching the record of 45 consecutive weeks ranked from Sept. 11, 2000 to Dec. 2, 2002. Utah will face nine teams ranked in the preseason poll, including four ranked squads in non-conference play.
 
RUNNING IT BACK
Utah Volleyball returns two fifth year seniors looking to lead the young team and bring their wealth of experience back one more time. Madelyn Robinson stands out as the top returner heading into the fall season as the fifth year Ute collected conference and region honors last season. The All-Pac-12 and All-Region honoree returns as the top scorer for the Utes, averaging 3.01 kills per set last season. Robinson was recently named a Preseason All-Pac-12 selection. Also returning for a fifth season with Utah Volleyball is Megan Yett, who has been a reliable defensive specialist for the past few years. Yett played in all 31 matches last fall and finished third on the team with 0.23 aces per set. She posted a career-best five service aces in the five set victory at Nebraska, which tied the record for most aces in five-set match in the rally-scoring era.
 
RETURNERS RISING
Joining Robinson and Yett with a wealth of experience is two-year starting libero Vanessa Ramirez. The rising junior led the team with 3.37 digs per set and posted the third-most aces. Junior Amelia Van Der Werff also enters the conversation as a notable contributor returning as the middle blocker recorded the best hitting percentage on the team (.380), which ranked fifth in the conference. She also led the team with 1.05 blocks per set in 2021. Also returning for Utah looking to make an impact is outside hitter Abby Karich, setter Emily Smith, defensive specialist Kamry Bailey, and middle blocker Allie Olsen, who all earned time on the court last year.
 
NEW ON THE BLOCK
Utah welcomes eight newcomers to the team this season with five freshmen and three sophomore transfers. Transferring into the program were outside hitters Lauren Jardine and Courtney Oilar, along with setter Grace Hammond. Jardine, a Highland, Utah native and Utah Gatorade Player of the Year, made her way to the Utes from the 2021 national championship team Wisconsin, while Oilar made the jump from Feather River College where she was an AVCA All-American. Hammond comes to the Utes as an Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team selection from Rhode Island.
 
The freshman class features a hometown Ute in middle hitter KJ Burgess, who hails from Alpine, Utah and was a three-time state champion at Lone Peak High School. Outside hitter Ashley West joins the squad from Arvada, Colo., as a 2022 junior national champion with Front Range Volleyball, while setter Viktoria Wahlgren comes from Canada where she has represented Team Canada at the World Championships, as well as other international assignments. Rounding out the newcomers is defensive specialist/libero Iliana Linahan from Austin, Texas, and freshman outside hitter Ella Biggs from Draper, Utah.
 
SCOUTING LOYOLA MARYMOUNT
Loyola Marymount finished the 2021 season with a 17-11 overall record, which included an 8-10 slate in West Coast Conference action. The Lions return 10 letterwinners from last season and welcome six newcomers. Kari Geissberger returns as the top scorer for LMU after she averaged a team-leading 3.95 kills per set in 2021, while Isabella Bareford returns as the top setter with 10.12 assists per set from a season ago. LMU also returns its starting libero in Mary Shroll.
 
SCOUTING #23 KANSAS 
The Jayhawks are coming off a 2021 season where they advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the 10th time in program history and reached the Sweet 16 before falling to Pitt. Kansas returns All-American outside hitter Caroline Bien, who was also named a Preseason All-Big 12 selection. Bien was the AVCA Regional Freshman of the Year, as well as the Big 12 Freshman of the Year last season after averaging 2.95 kills per set. Other notable returners for the Jayhawks are Rachel Langs, London Davis and Aneska Szabo.

SCOUTING UTAH VALLEY
Utah Valley is coming off its second-straight WAC Tournament title and returns 13 players from last year's NCAA Tournament team. The 2022 Wolverines are led by AVCA Pacific South All-Region honorable mention and All-WAC first team honoree Kazna Tanuvasa, who currently sits second all-time in Utah Valley history with 1,595 career kills. Also returning for the Wolverines is Tori Dorius, who was recently named to the Preseason All-WAC team with Tanuvasa.

SEASON TICKET TIME
It is time to secure season tickets for the 2022 season to catch all of the action in the Huntsman Center. Help Utah Volleyball make the Huntsman Center the best home court advantage in the nation and visit UtahTickets.com to purchase tickets for $25 to watch all 15 home matches.
  
UP NEXT
No. 22 Utah Volleyball will hit the road for a non-conference tournament hosted by No. 13 Purdue in West Lafayette, Ind., next Friday and Saturday, Sept. 2-3. Utah is set to open competition against UW-Milwaukee on Friday at 10:30 a.m. MT, while the match against home-team Purdue will take place Friday night at 5:30 p.m. MT on the Big Ten Network. Rounding out the tournament, Utah will play Bradley on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. MT.