Utes Post Second Sweep of Pac-12 Play, Down Golden Bears 3-0
SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Volleyball earned its second sweep of conference play on Friday night, downing the California Golden Bears in straight sets (25-22, 25-12, 25-20) at the Jon M. Huntsman Center. Utah posted its most efficient hitting performance in nearly a month and its third best of the year after recording a .310 hitting percentage against Cal to improve to 10-6 overall this season and 3-2 in Pac-12 play.
Utah jumped out to a 7-3 advantage to start, but could not keep the lead as Cal managed to chip away at the lead, eventually tying the score 12-12. Kills from KJ Burgess and Madelyn Robinson allowed Utah to be the first to reach 15 points although leading by just one point at the media timeout. Leading 16-15, Utah pulled away after scoring five consecutive points, which included a pair of kills and a block from Allie Olsen. The Golden Bears countered with a 5-1 run to cut the deficit to just 22-20. Lauren Jardine recorded back-to-back kills for set point, and despite a pair of points from Cal, the Utes ended the set with Jardine's fourth kill of the frame to win 25-22.
Cal had no answer for Utah's offense in the second set as the Utes would hit at a blazing .406 clip in the frame with just one hitting error. Utah jumped out to another early lead and pushed the gap out to seven points following a kill from Robinson. Utah later extended the lead 18-8 after consecutive aces from Vanessa Ramirez, which capped off a 4-0 run. Cal managed to put together three unanswered points, but the momentum wouldn't last as Utah closed out the set on a 7-2 run. Four different Utes recorded at least three kills led by Robinson's four kills.
The momentum on Utah's side continued to flow through set three with the home team once again gaining an early advantage. Although holding a lead to start, Utah allowed Cal back in the set after five straight points would tie set three 7-7. After trading a point each, Allie Olsen collected a kill to begin what went on to be a 9-0 for Utah. The set-deciding run for Utah included a career-best four aces from Abby Karich, which she posted in four of five points.
Leading 18-9, the Utes saw the Golden Bears cut the deficit to just five points on two occasions, but Utah was able to reach match point later on at 24-17 with a comfortable advantage. After Cal posted a quick 3-0 run to trim the lead to just 24-20, Karich ended the match with a kill on the outside to complete the sweep on Friday night.
Jardine led the squad with a team-high 11 kills on .391 hitting, while Robinson joined her in double figures with 10 kills. Emily Smith dished out 26 assists to the offense that combined to hit .310 in the match. Olsen posted nine kills on .533 hitting, while Amelia Van Der Werff added six kills on .385 hitting.
Ramirez once again led the Utes after finishing with nine digs, while Smith, Robinson and Kamry Bailey all added seven digs to the defensive efforts. Olsen and KJ Burgess finished tied with a match-high four blocks, and Robinson and Van Der Werff each added three.
Utah will host eighth-ranked Stanford this Sunday, Oct. 9, at 4 p.m. MT. Utah and Stanford will be nationally televised on ESPNU to close out the weekend. There will be free ice cream sundaes on the concourse pre-match, as well as free t-shirts to the first 200 fans in attendance. Fans attending the Utah women's soccer match can use their tickets for entry to the volleyball match.