Utah Volleyball Looks to Down Cougars in Rivalry Matchup


The University of Utah celebrates after their victory in an NCAA Volleyball match vs. UVU at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018 (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Brayden Ramsay, Sports Writer


The No. 18 University of Utah Volleyball team will be back at the Huntsman Center on Thursday night to take on No. 13 BYU Cougars. Utah is looking to beat their rivals after losing their last two matches in the Pepperdine Asics Classic.

After knocking off No. 7 Kentucky and No. 23 Cal Poly early on in the season, the Utes were positioned to do big things entering the Pepperdine Asics Classic. Unfortunately for the Utes, the weekend wasn’t too kind, and they had their first and second losses of the season after giving up only two sets in their first seven matches.

Utah also saw a milestone in the tournament, with Berkeley Oblad becoming the thirteenth player in school history to reach 400 blocks.

BYU will be coming into the match with a 7-2 record, with losses against Marquette and Texas. Utah’s record will be 8-2, with losses to Cal Poly and Pittsburgh.

Players to watch out for in this match for the Utes are Dani Drews, Berkeley Oblad and Brianna Doehermann. Drews is an outside hitter who was part of last season’s Pac-12 All-Conference team, and Second Team All-American. Oblad is a middle blocker who just past the 400 blocks milestone last weekend against Pepperdine. Doehermann is a libero and defensive specialist who was a Pac-12 Honorable Mention last season, and is the 11th player in program history to pass the 1,000 career digs mark.

Kenzie Koerber is also a name to keep track of against the Cougars. She was named to the Pac-12 All-Conference Honorable Mention team alongside an All-American Honorable Mention nod in 2018.

University of Utah freshman setter Saige Ka’aha’aina-Torres (9) indicates where to serve in an NCAA Volleyball match vs. UVU at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018 (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle) 

BYU will feature a few players to keep your eye on as well. Freshman Kate Grimmer had double digit kills in their matchup against VCU last weekend. Senior McKenna Miller has also been on a hot streak as of late, notching 15 kills in the Cougars’ loss to the Longhorns.

Fans should also keep their eyes on freshman Whitney Bower, who had five aces during the last match for the Cougs. Senior Mary Lake also had a banner weekend for the Cougs, racking up 11 digs, four assists and an ace. Both Bower and Lake were named to the all-tournament team.

The last time that the Utes and Cougs met behind the nets, Utah was swept in a 3-0 loss to their rival. At the time, BYU was the No. 1 ranked team in the nation. Utah quickly jumped to a 4-1 lead in the first set before BYU stormed ahead to take the set and eventually the whole match. Drews led the team in the loss with 11 kills.

Utah and BYU have met 102 times in the two teams history. The Cougars lead the Utes in wins 72-30. The Utes are 15-26 in Salt Lake City, and are looking to add a sixteenth win on Thursday.

It was announced on Monday that the team would be retiring the jersey of all-time-great, Kim Turner, on Oct. 11. The team will also honor head coach Beth Launiere, who is celebrating her 30th season as the head coach of the Utah Volleyball team.

The matchup will take place at the Jon M. Huntsman Center on Thursday, Sept. 19 at 6 p.m.


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