No. 19 Utes Make it Seven Straight to Begin the Season, Sweeping Wolverine Classic

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No. 19 Utes Make it Seven Straight to Begin the Season, Sweeping Wolverine Classic

University of Utah freshman setter Saige Ka'aha'aina-Torres (9) and junior libero/defensive specialist Brianna Doehrmann (17) celebrate after a point in an NCAA Volleyball match vs. the UCLA Bruins at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

University of Utah freshman setter Saige Ka'aha'aina-Torres (9) and junior libero/defensive specialist Brianna Doehrmann (17) celebrate after a point in an NCAA Volleyball match vs. the UCLA Bruins at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

University of Utah freshman setter Saige Ka'aha'aina-Torres (9) and junior libero/defensive specialist Brianna Doehrmann (17) celebrate after a point in an NCAA Volleyball match vs. the UCLA Bruins at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

University of Utah freshman setter Saige Ka'aha'aina-Torres (9) and junior libero/defensive specialist Brianna Doehrmann (17) celebrate after a point in an NCAA Volleyball match vs. the UCLA Bruins at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Adam Cochran

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The University of Utah volleyball team continued their perfect start to the season by sweeping the Wolverine Classic in Orem, this weekend. The team competed in three games and swept all three teams they faced in three sets.

The Utes started the tournament beating UC Davis on Friday in three straight sets (25-18, 25-17, 25-23). They continued the dominance into the evening sweeping Portland State (25-13, 25-11, 25-20).

On Saturday, the team capped off the weekend by beating Utah Valley University (25-21, 25-20, 25-18) in the final match, not dropping a set during the weekend. The Utes have only dropped two sets this season, winning six of their seven matches in straight sets.

Against UC Davis, a previously unbeaten team, the Utes were led by Kenzie Koerber with 17 kills, while Saige Ka’aha’aina-Torres set up her teammates 35 times and Brianna Doehrmann anchored the defensive effort for the Utes with 11 digs. Utah dominated the match, until the third set where they fell to a 19-23 deficit before rallying and scoring six straight points to close out the set and the match.

In the second match on Friday, the team was set to take on Portland State, and the Utes put together their most dominant performance of the weekend. Utah blasted out to a double-digit lead in each of the three sets, controlling the match from start to finish. Zoe Weatherington led the team with 16 kills, and Ka’aha’aina-Torres provided 39 assists in the winning effort.

The Saturday game against the UVU provided the Utes with their biggest test of the weekend. UVU came out swinging, taking a lead in the first set before the Utes closed it out with a 7-1 run. The Utes made a habit of closing out sets strong, ending the second set 7-3. The third set was the least competitive, with Utah controlling it throughout, closing out their perfect weekend. Dani Drews smashed an impressive 21 kills against the Wolverines, while Ka’aha’aina-Torres posted 43 assists, the second-highest of her career.

“We’re getting better every match, and we’ve got an experienced, mature group that is really focusing on continuing to get better,” Utah head coach Beth Launiere said following the tournament. “It’s a very workmanlike attitude in the gym. There is a lot more for us to get better at, but that’s what I’m most proud of with this group right now.”

The Utes had three players earn tournament honors. Drews posted 44 kills over the course of the three matches, earning her tournament MVP honors. Koerber earned all-tournament honors with her 42 kills. She was joined on the all-tournament by teammate Ka’aha’haina’-Torres with her 117 assists.

Up next for the Utes is a trip to Malibu to participate in the Pepperdine Asics Classic at Pepperdine University. The team is set to play Pepperdine on Friday Sept. 13 at 1:00 p.m. They follow that game up with two games on Saturday against Pittsburgh at 11:00 a.m. and a rematch with Cal Poly, who they beat last week at the Utah Classic three sets to two. That match is set to begin at 6:00 p.m. The Utes will next be in action at home on Sept. 19 against rival BYU.

 

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