Despite rallying after being down two sets, the No. 15 University of Utah volleyball team (11-3, 2-1 Pac-12) dropped its match to No. 12 Oregon (9-2, 2-1 Pac-12) after losing the fifth set, 21-19.
“Obviously happy with the way we responded after the first two sets, but yet disappointed as well with how we started and inconsistency is hurting us,” said head coach Beth Launiere. “We really played two different games.”
Oregon got on the scoreboard first before extending its lead, 9-5. Utah tied the match at 9-9, but the Ducks jumped out to a 12-10 edge despite a kill by Adora Anae. After a timeout, both teams went back-and-forth scoring points. Sitting at 23-15 in favor of the Ducks, the Utes scored one more point before Oregon clinched a 25-16 victory.
Set two began with the Ducks taking the first four points only to then run away with the match. After a timeout, Shannon Scully had an ace, but Utah still trailed 16-9. Oregon benefited from some Utah mistakes to increase its lead to 23-12. After scoring two more points, the Ducks won set two, 25-13. Although Oregon lead the match 2-0, Utah wasn’t ready to give up.
“We made some adjustments and that helped,” Launiere said. “I think we came out pretty fired up to try to turn it around.”
Utah scored the first point of set three, and that momentum it came out with would continue as it scored two more points making it 3-1 before the Ducks could get on the board. Anae, Dani Barton, Carly Trueman, Kenzie Koerber and Tawnee Luafalemana all had kills en route to Utah’s 25-16 win.
Oregon went up 3-2 in the fourth set, but it was Utah that ultimately ended up on top. The Utes took an 11-8 lead thanks to kills by Anae and Barton. Although the Ducks came within four points of tying the match near the end, Utah escaped with a 25-17 fourth set victory to force the match to a fifth set.
Coming back to tie the match after being down two sets, the momentum came to a nailbitting end for the Utes. Anae made her presence felt for Utah as she had another kill on the night to tie the match at 11-11. Both teams were quick to answer each other with its own points, but Oregon slide past Utah to win the match, 3-2.
Anae is now No. 2 all-time in career kills after finishing the match with 18 kills. She also had 13 digs to go along with her historical ranking. Trueman and Berkeley Oblad each had 12 kills, and Luafalemana totaled seven kills and four blocks. Bailey Choy lead the way with 32 assists, and Camryn Machado followed with 17 assists. Recording double-digit digs was Anae, Choy and Brianna Doehrmann.
Utah returns to action on Friday, Oct. 6 at Washington at 9 p.m. MT.