Utah Volleyball Starts Pac-12 Play Thursday Night Against Colorado, Continues Saturday vs. Arizona
|Match 12: Utah (7-4) vs. Colorado (8-2)
Thursday, Sept. 22 | 7 p.m. MT
Salt Lake City, Utah | Jon M. Huntsman Center
Live Stats: StatBroadcast
Watch: Pac-12 Networks
|Match 13: Utah (7-4) vs. Arizona (10-1)
Saturday, Sept. 24 | 7 p.m. MT
Salt Lake City, Utah | Jon M. Huntsman Center
Live Stats: StatBroadcast
Watch: Pac-12 Insider
Utah Volleyball is set to open Pac-12 Conference play in Salt Lake City this week when it welcomes Colorado and Arizona to the Jon M. Huntsman Center. Utah and Colorado will kick off conference action this Thursday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. MT. The match will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks, while fans in attendance can receive free Utah phone rings. Utah will then host Arizona on Saturday, Sept. 24, to close out the home stand. The Utes and Wildcats will have first serve at 7 p.m. MT on Pac-12 Insider. The match will be Utah's diversity and inclusion game, and there will be free stickers on the concourse prior to the match.
• Utah has won its last three Pac-12 Conference home openers in straight sets, which includes a 3-0 win over Colorado in 2019. The Utes are 7-4 all-time in Pac-12 home openers.
• Since 2019, Utah is 34-7 overall in the Huntsman Center.
• Madelyn Robinson has posted double-digit kills in every match this season, while Vanessa Ramirez has collected 10 or more digs in all but one match.
• Utah has recorded more digs than its opponent in all but one match this season.
• Utah is 17-11 (11-2 at home) in the series history vs. Colorado, and has won five of the last seven matches against the Buffaloes. Utah has not lost at home to Colorado since 2016.
• Utah is 14-28 (9-11 at home) all-time vs. Arizona, but has won seven-straight matches against the Wildcats. The Utes have not lost at home since 2015 to the Wildcats.
IN THE RANKINGS
• Utah is second in the Pac-12 and No. 20 in the nation with 13.98 kills per set.
• Utah is fourth in the Pac-12 and No. 46 in the nation with 12.47 assists per set.
• Allie Olsen is second in the Pac-12 and No. 16 in the nation with a .412 hitting percentage.
• Madelyn Robinson is second in the Pac-12 Conference and No. 28 in the nation with 4.21 kills per set.
• Vanessa Ramirez is second in the Pac-12 with 4.16 digs per set.
• Utah received votes in the AVCA Coaches Poll for the fourth-straight week. Before narrowly sliding out of the top-25, Utah Volleyball was ranked in the AVCA Coaches Poll for 45 consecutive weeks, which tied a school-record for most consecutive weeks ranked set during the 2000-02 seasons.
RAMIREZ RUNNING THE BACK ROW
Utah libero Vanessa Ramirez is leading defensive efforts for the Utes and is second in the Pac-12 Conference in digs per set through non-conference play. Ramirez is averaging 4.12 digs per set and has hit double-digit digs in all but the season opener. At the Purdue tournament, she posted two matches of 20-plus digs, which were both career high marks. She first posted a personal-best 25 digs against Milwaukee before upping the career high to 27 digs, which she recorded against Purdue. Most recently, Ramirez tallied 20 digs against UConn and 22 digs against BYU to put her total at four matches of 20 or more digs this season. Ramirez has had the most or at least tied for the most digs on the team in nine of 11 matches this season.
STEPPING IN, STEPPING UP
This past weekend saw different Utes stepping in when called on, which has been the theme of this season. Utah has had seven players reach double-digit kills in at least one match this season, while six Utes have posted 10 or more digs in at least one match. With Madelyn Robinson being unavailable to play last weekend, Abby Karich earned the first starts of her career against BYU and Utah State. Karich stepped in and posted a career-best 17 kills against BYU for her first career match in double figures. Running the offense the last two matches was Viktoria Wahlgren, who averaged 12.67 assists per set. Wahlgren posted a career-best 41 assists against BYU before turning around and leading Utah with 35 assists in her first career start vs. Utah State. Wahlgren also tied for the most blocks against BYU with five, while she posted four against USU to average 1.50 blocks per set over the weekend, which tied for a team high.
NEWCOMERS NO MORE
Utah has received valuable contributions from its large contingent of newcomers this season. Ashley West and Lauren Jardine have been key parts to the offense to start the season with Jardine tallying nine matches of at least 10 kills, while West has posted double-digit kills in four matches. Jardine has matched a career-best 14 kills three times this season, most recently against Utah State where she also hit a season-best .355 in the match. West is coming off a season-high 12 kills against BYU and is third on the team in kills per set behind Jardine and All-Pac-12 outside hitter Madelyn Robinson. Also making an impact when entering the match has been freshman KJ Burgess. Against UConn, Burgess totaled a season-high 10 kills on .600 hitting and led the team with seven blocks. This past weekend, Burgess earned the start against BYU and Utah State where she averaged 1.50 blocks per set to lead the team.
Colorado heads into conference play sitting at 8-2 overall, which included a streak of seven-straight wins to start the season. The Buffaloes picked up notable wins over then No. 19 Illinois (3-0) and Iowa (3-0) at the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge, while their pair of losses were to Arkansas (0-3) and Colorado State (1-3) on the road. Colorado is ranked No. 8 in the nation with 2.94 blocks per set and are second in the conference. Meegan Hart leads the Pac-12 and is second nationally with a .477 hitting percentage, while Alexia Kuehl leads the blocking efforts for the Buffs and is No. 13 in the nation with 1.47 blocks per set. Hart also adds in 1.25 blocks per set. Maya Tabron leads the team with 3.39 kills per set, while Taylor Simpson dishes out 9.64 assists per set.
Arizona has gotten off to a 10-1 start this season with its sole loss of the season coming in five sets to North Carolina on the road. Notable wins for the Wildcats have been over Wake Forrest, San Diego State and Maryland. Arizona leads the conference and is second nationally with its opponent hitting percentage (.119), while the Wildcats rank No. 39 in the nation with 2.52 blocks per set. Also ranking in the top-50, Arizona hits at a .256 clip, which is good for No. 46 nationally. Zyonna Fellows is No. 66 in the nation with 1.21 blocks set, while Ana Heath is No. 83 nationally and third in the Pac-12 with 0.45 aces per set. Kamaile Hiapo is third in the conference with 4.05 digs per set.
SEASON TICKET TIME
It is time to secure season tickets for the 2022 season to see 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 catch all of Utah's remaining home matches. Fans wishing to purchase single match tickets can also do so online or at the ticket office prior to the match. Looking to get more involved, join the Block U Club where you can receive benefits such as a t-shirt, team lanyard, concession coupons, autographed team poster and ball, subscription to Beth's Blast and more. Single match tickets are also available.
Utah returns to the road for its first conference road trip of the season. The Utes will head to Los Angeles for a pair of matches before beginning another four-match home stand. Utah opens road action against UCLA on Friday, Sept. 30, at 8 p.m. MT in Pauley Pavilion. Utah closes out the road trip against USC on Sunday, Oct. 2, at 2 p.m. MT. The match between the Utes and Bruins will be live streamed, while the Utes and Trojans will air on Pac-12 Insider.