Utah Volleyball Downs SMU In Four Sets To Open Weekend In San Diego
SAN DIEGO, Calif. – After dropping a competitive first set, Utah Volleyball bounced back to complete the four-set win over SMU (23-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-22) to open the weekend's action. With six players recording at least five kills each and the team posting a season-high 13 service aces, Utah improved to 5-2 in non-conference play.
SMU limited Utah to just a .059 hitting percentage in the opening set, causing the Utes to quickly fall behind 1-0 in the match. Despite the struggle to find an offensive groove, Utah played a tight first set as the score was never separated by more than two points until SMU pulled ahead 19-16. Out of a Utah timeout, the Mustangs extended the lead to 20-16 following a Ute attack error.
The Utes responded with a 5-1 run to tie the frame 21-21. Later, a service error from Utah and an ace from SMU set the score at 24-22 in favor of the Mustangs. Lauren Jardine earned a sideout with a kill, but a Mustang kill countered and won the frame 25-23.
Looking to bounce back, Utah used a 3-1 run to build some separation midway through the second set and take a 15-12 lead. Three unanswered points for SMU tied the set once again, but the Utes would later put together a 3-0 run for themselves to lead 20-17. The Mustangs cut the score to 21-19, but consecutive kills from Allie Olsen followed by a kill from Madelyn Robinson put the team at set point, 24-19. Megan Yett collected an ace to cap off the 4-0 run and tie the match 1-1.
Utah put together an 8-0 start in the fourth set with Emily Smith leading the way, recorded three service aces in eight points. From that point on, Utah controlled the frame and led by as many as 11 points when it took the lead 17-6 after a block from Smith and KJ Burgess. The Utes hit .625 in the third set with 16 kills and just one error, led by Jardine and Ashley West's four kills each and Amelia Van Der Werff's three kills on three swings.
In the fourth set, Utah led narrowly and eventually gained a 15-10 advantage. SMU scored four of the next five points to trail just 16-14 and sent Utah into a timeout. Out of the break, consecutive points for Utah pushed the lead back out to four. The teams went point for point from there until Robinson tallied a kill and an ace back-to-back to put the Ute lead at 22-18. A 3-0 run from SMU threatened the lead, but another kill from Robinson sent Utah ahead 23-21. After a block trimmed the lead, Jardine put down a kill for set point, while West and Burgess ended the match with a block.
Robinson totaled 15 kills in the win to lead Utah as she surpassed 1,000 career kills between her collegiate career at BYU and Utah this evening. Jardine matched a career-best 14 kills, while Van Der Werff added nine kills. Smith filled up her stat line nicely after recording 39 assists, 12 digs, five kills, career-high four aces and career-high four blocks.
Vanessa Ramirez recorded a match-high 16 digs, while Yett returned to action with 11 digs. Utah out-served SMU with 13 aces to just five aces, which was highlighted by aces by eight different Utes.
Utah will be back in action Saturday morning against UConn at 11 a.m. MT at Jenny Craig Pavilion. The Utes will then close out the tournament against No. 12-ranked San Diego at 8 p.m. MT. The matched will be live streamed on the WCC Network.