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#22 Utah Sweeps Utah Valley To Wrap Up Opening Weekend

Aug 27, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY – The No. 22-ranked Utah volleyball team closed out the opening weekend in sweeping fashion, downing Utah Valley in straight sets (25-23, 25-17, 26-24) to close out the Utah Classic. Led by All-Tournament Team selections Madelyn Robinson and Allie Olsen throughout the event, the Utes finished 2-1 at the Huntsman Center this weekend.

"It was nice to play a lot of different players tonight and see different people step up when needed," said head coach Beth Launiere. "The match was very competitive and there were a lot of moments we needed to respond and did just that. Overall, I am pleased with our effort this weekend and we will continue to work on areas we need to improve on. It was a nice starting point and we are excited about where this team goes from here."

Utah found itself trailing early after giving up four consecutive points to fall behind Utah Valley 14-9 in the first set. After a Utah timeout, Olsen earned a kill from the middle before Ashley West and Olsen teamed up for Utah's first block of the match. The momentum continued as Robinson recorded an ace, followed by another West kill and Olsen block to tie the set 14-14 and force a Wolverine timeout.

From there, the two in-state squads were never separated by more than two points. Trailing 22-21, Robinson earned a key kill to tie the score for the 13th time of the set before a Utah Valley attack error and ace from Robinson created a 3-0 run to give the Utes set point. A Utah error trimmed the score to 24-23, but Robinson ensured the Ute win with her fifth kill of the set.

Utah used an 8-2 run in the second set to break open the frame and lead 15-7. The large run of points for the Utes gave the team a cushion the rest of the way and were able to maintain, eventually winning 25-17. The dominant win came from the hot hands of Robinson once again, who recorded four kills on five swings with no errors. The unit as a whole hit .450 in the set with five Utes recording at least one kill with no errors.

In the third set, Utah led the entire set and built a five-point lead early on. Kills from four different Utes handed Utah a 5-1 run to lead 10-5 and set the tone early. Despite seeming in control, the Utes later gave up five of six points to see Utah Valley crawl back within two points at 15-13 and force a Utah timeout.

Out of the timeout, Utah responded with a 3-0 run and was then upped by the Wolverines' 4-0 run. Leading 18-17, a pair of kills from Robinson and another from Lauren Jardine pushed the lead back to three points, but Utah Valley stuck around and a slew of errors from Utah eventually saw the set become tied at 23-23. Jardine put a kill down for set point, but UVU responded once again. West in her true freshman season came up big in the final two points, recording a kill for the sideout before finishing off the job with Amelia Van Der Werff for a match-ending block.

Robinson led the team with 13 kills on .310 hitting, as well as posting nine digs and two aces. West tallied eight kills and a team-high four blocks. Jardine tallied five kills in two sets of action, while Olsen and KJ Burgess each tallied four kills in two sets of play. Emily Smith posted 32 assists in the win, while Vanessa Ramirez tallied a team-high 12 digs. In total, Utah saw action from 14 different Utes tonight.

Utah Volleyball will be back in action next weekend, traveling to West Lafayette, Ind., to compete in Purdue's home tournament. Utah will play UW-Milwaukee on Friday, Sept. 2, at 10 a.m. MT before facing No. 13 Purdue at 5:30 p.m. MT. The Utes will close out the tournament on Saturday, Sept. 3, against Bradley at 10 a.m. MT.