Utah Downs UCLA In Four Sets at Pauley Pavilion
LOS ANGELES – Utah Volleyball opened the weekend with a four-set victory at UCLA (25-23, 25-18, 14-25, 25-19) on Friday night. With the win from a defensive battle that saw three Utes reach double figures, Utah improved to 9-5 overall this season and 2-1 in Pac-12 play.
Utah opened the match against UCLA in a game of runs, first striking with a 4-0 run to lead 12-7 early on. UCLA countered with three straight points, but a 4-1 run for Utah would later break open the lead to 20-14. Despite holding a valuable lead, Utah saw the Bruins go on a 6-0 run to find the opening set tied 20-20 and force the Utes to call timeout. Out of the break, the runs continued as Utah scored four of the next five points to earn set point 24-21. UCLA collected a pair of consecutive points, but Madelyn Robinson's fourth kill of the set would give Utah the 1-0 match lead.
The Utes came out aggressive early in the second set and suddenly took a 13-5 lead after a 9-1 run. The dominating performance continued on as the Utes pulled out to a 22-12 lead, and although the Bruins toyed with a small comeback, the Utes took care of business and recorded a 25-18 victory to lead 2-0. Lauren Jardine led the group with five kills on .417 hitting in the frame, while Vanessa Ramirez collected six digs.
The third set went back and forth to start, but when the frame was tied 12-12, the Bruins scored seven straight to pull ahead 19-12. Utah earned a sideout, but the momentum could not be shifted as UCLA went on to score seven of the final eight points and win 25-14.
Looking to bounce back, Utah jumped out to a 10-4 lead by the help of a block presence as the match of runs continued. The big spurt of points for Utah continued as a 5-1 run would extend the lead to 15-7. Utah managed to hold on to the large lead for the majority of the set until UCLA began to chip away and eventually trimmed the lead to just 23-18. Out of a Utah timeout, a pair of Robinson kills would do it for the Utes to complete the 25-19 set win and 3-1 road victory. Utah posted four blocks in the fourth set to finish with nine total blocks in the match.
Utah was led by senior setter Emily Smith, who posted a double-double with 33 assists and 13 digs, while the defensive effort was also added to by Ramirez's 17 digs and Kamry Bailey's career-high 16 digs. Allie Olsen posted five blocks and KJ Burgess added four blocks to lead the efforts at the net.
Offensively, the Utes were once again led by Robinson's match-high 13 kills, while Jardine tallied eight kills. Burgess recorded seven kills on .455 hitting, and Ashley West and Smith each added six kills.
Utah will close out the road trip in Los Angeles with a match at USC this Sunday, Oct. 2, at 2 p.m. MT. The Utes and Trojans will be streamed on Pac-12 Insider at the Galen Center.