University of Utah Volleyball senior outside hitter Adora Anae (14) spikes the ball in a set of matches vs. The Oregon Ducks at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, UT on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

The University of Utah volleyball team is back in town, ready for two matches up against No. 1 Brigham Young University and Utah Valley University. Utah will start off their weekend in Provo against BYU on Thursday, Sept. 13, followed by a meeting against UVU in the Huntsman Center on Friday, Sept. 14.

The Utes and BYU have a long history. Utah holds a 30-70 record against BYU, having 23 of those 30 victories with Beth Launiere as head coach. The Cougar volleyball team has been ranked No. 1 in the AVCA Coaches Poll for the first time since 1986, and is going into Thursday’s match with an 8-0 record this season. This last weekend, BYU played at the Marquette Invitational sweeping USC 3-0, Syracuse 3-0 and Marquette 3-1.

The Utes have a 11-1 record against the Wolverines of UVU, having won the five most recent head-to-head matches. This past weekend, Utah Valley played at the NC State/Campbell Invitational, sweeping each of their opponents. They went 3-0 on the weekend, taking the win against Campbell 3-2, Appalachian State 3-2 and NC State 3-2. Prior to meeting the Utes on Friday, the Wolverines will face off with Weber State. The Wolverines currently hold an 8-3 record overall.

The Utes come into the weekend with a 7-2 record overall. Utah is predicted to finish eighth in the Pac-12 this season, but the Utes are currently second in the Pac-12 in hitting, with a .282 hitting percentage through nine matches. Contributing to this is Outside Hitter Dani Drews and Setter Bailey Choy. Drews is leading the team with 138 kills and is currently holding fifth in the Pac-12 averaging 4.7 points per set. Choy has averaged 10.4 assists per set in the last six matches, with this last weekend matching her career high of 57 assists against Temple at the Villanova Volleyball Invitational. The Utes have been serving strong so far this season as well, averaging 1.58 aces per set, where they are currently tied for third in the Pac-12. Drews holds the lead on the team with 19 serving aces.

Freshman Middle Blocker Phoebe Grace has started off her season strong here with the Utah Utes so far. She is currently fourth in the Pac-12 averaging 1.39 blocks per set and is tied for the most blocks in any Pac-12 match so far this season with 11.0 blocks against Montana, giving Grace the second most blocks a player has had so far this season in a three-set match in the NCAA.

For Friday night’s match against UVU, student tickets will be available. Students are allowed free entry for themselves and four guests for all home volleyball games. Students will need to present valid student ID at the door of the Huntsman center for entry. All seating is general admission.

The #24 Utah at No. 1 BYU match Thursday night will be broadcasted on BYU TV. The #24 Utah vs. Utah Valley match on Friday at the Huntsman Center will be streamed along with live stats on UtahUtes.com

l.gastelum@dailyutahchronicle.com

@LeilaniGastelum

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