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Utah Volleyball Splits Pair of Five-Set Matches On Friday

Sep 2, 2022

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Utah Volleyball opened its first weekend of road competition by splitting the day's matches, first outlasting Milwaukee in five sets (25-18, 25-21, 18-25, 24-26, 19-17) before later falling to No. 11-ranked Purdue in a five-set heartbreaker (17-25, 25-22, 25-18, 28-26, 9-15). Utah moves to 3-2 overall this season with its pair of losses coming at the hands of top-25 teams.
 
Utah 3, Milwaukee 2
Utah got out to a slow start in the first set after Milwaukee scored five consecutive points to lead 8-4. Trailing 10-6 later on, Utah turned things around and went on a 6-1 run to gain an 11-10 lead and force Milwaukee to call timeout. The teams traded points until the Utes scored seven in a row to take a commanding 20-13 lead. The Panthers trimmed the deficit to just four points later on, but Utah would score four of the final five points to take the set 25-18.

In the second set, Utah jumped out to a 9-3 lead and continued the momentum all the way to an eventual 19-9 lead thanks to the hot-hitting of the offense, which had not recorded a single attack error to that point of the set. Later, a service error put the Utes at 24-13 looking to take a 2-0 lead in the match. After Milwaukee scored eight unanswered points, Amelia Van Der Werff finally ended the set 25-21 to ensure the set win. Vanessa Ramirez led the defensive efforts with 10 digs in the second set, while three Utes recorded at least three kills.

The third set started out going back and forth until Milwaukee managed to go on a 6-0 run to lead 14-8. Utah was able to pull within four points, but that was as close as it would get as the Panthers later pulled away for the 25-18 victory. Utah was limited to just .111 hitting after hitting .294 and .312 in the previous sets.

The fourth set continued to sway in favor of Milwaukee as the Utes fell behind 10-5 to start the frame. A kill from Lauren Jardine later kicked off a 6-0 run for the Utes to pull ahead 14-12. The teams battled from that point on and after trading points down the stretch of the set, Utah scored consecutive points to pull ahead 22-20. Milwaukee scored three of the next four points to tie the set at 23-all and force Utah to call timeout. Out of the timeout, Allie Olsen collected a kill for set point, but the Panthers would go on to record the next three points to send the match to a fifth set.

The fifth set proved to be a battle as the two teams fought for every point. Utah fell behind 9-6, but rallied back to take a 10-9 lead after scoring four straight. Later tied 12-12, Milwaukee earned its first match point after collecting a pair of consecutive points, but kills from Jardine and Madelyn Robinson tied the set 14-14. Milwaukee earned its third match point at 15-14 and this time it was Allie Olsen's kill that saved the match, but yet another Panther kill put the Utes in danger.

Sitting on the fourth match point, Van Der Werff and Ashley West paired up for a block to tie the set 16-16. Milwaukee's Madi Malone earned a kill for their fifth match point, but a kill from Robinson followed by a Panther attack error and kill from Van Der Werff would finally end the set 19-17 and give Utah the 3-2 win.

Robinson posted a career-high 21 kills and 18 digs, while Emily Smith dished out a career-best 43 assists and 11 digs. The double-doubles marked Robinson's first of the season and Smith's second. Ramirez also posted a career-high 25 digs, along with nine assists and three aces.

Jardine posted 14 kills, while Van Der Werff added 12 kills on .417 hitting and Olsen added a career-high 10 kills on .444 hitting. Olsen also added five blocks to lead the Utes, while Kamry Bailey posted 14 digs and Abby Karich totaled a career-best 11 digs.
 
Utah 2, #11 Purdue 3
Utah quickly fell behind 11-4 in the first set, but began to chip away at the lead with a 6-1 run to trail just 14-11. The run was ended there as the Boilermakers scored six of the next seven points to pull ahead 20-12 and never looked back, winning the opening set 25-17. Purdue opened the match with a .519 hitting percentage in the opening set, recording just two errors to take the frame.

The second set was much tighter from the get-go, seeing Utah take an early lead by just a few points. A kill from Ashley West pushed the lead to 13-10 in favor of the Utes, but a Utah attack error followed by a pair of aces and back-to-back blocks from Purdue saw the Utes head into the media timeout trailing 15-13. Utah turned the momentum yet again after going on a 4-1 run, which was ended with a huge block from Emily Smith, to lead 17-16.

Out of a Purdue timeout, the teams went back and forth until Utah rattled off three consecutive points to reach set point at 24-20. Two points from the Boilermakers caused Utah to talk it over, but out of the timeout, Robinson's seventh kill of the frame ended the set to tie the match 1-1.

In the third set, Utah found itself trailing from the start and ultimately fell behind 15-10 heading into the media timeout. Back-to-back kills from Lauren Jardine later cut the lead to just 17-14 for Purdue, but a 5-1 run from Purdue set the Utes back 22-15 and the deficit became too large to overcome as they went on to fall 25-18.

Utah used a 6-0 run in the fourth set to gain some separation over Purdue at 19-14. The Boilermakers would put the pressure on and climb all the way back to trail just 20-19. Utah earned the sideout from an attack error and then a kill from Robinson gave the squad a 22-19 lead down the stretch. The Utes were able to hang onto the lead thanks to a block from Robinson and Olsen (23-21), before Robinson posted her 23rd kill of the match for set point at 24-22.

Consecutive kills from Purdue's Maddy Chinn tied the set 24-all, but a kill from Jardine regained the set point. A couple of Utah errors then gave the Boilermakers match point, but a timely kill from Olsen in the middle tied the set once again. Olsen teamed up with Ashley West the next point for a block before Robinson hammered a ball down the line for her ninth kill of the fourth set to win it 28-26.

After falling behind to start the fifth set, Utah put together a 4-1 run to take a 8-7 lead heading into the side switch. Purdue countered with five straight points, forcing Utah to take a timeout after falling behind 12-8. Jardine stopped the momentum with a kill out of the break, but the change of tides was short-lived as Purdue ended the match scoring three consecutive points to win 3-2.

Robinson outdid her previous career high in kills set in the first match of the day, collecting 26 kills and 16 digs for her second double-double of the day. Smith also posted her second double-double of the day with a career-high 48 assists and 11 digs, while Vanessa Ramirez earned her first of the season by posting a career-high 27 digs and 10 assists.

Ashley West totaled a career-best 11 kills, while Lauren Jardine added 10 kills. Kamry Bailey posted 12 digs and Van Der Werff led the team with four blocks.
Utah will be back in action Saturday morning against Bradley at 10 a.m. MT to close out the weekend of play in West Lafayette, Ind.