No. 18 Utah Volleyball Takes Down Top 10 Team at Home

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University of Utah Volleyball team celebrates their in an NCAA Volleyball match vs. The Washington Huskies at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Friday, Oct. 25, 2019. (Photo by Abu Asib | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Mallory Arnold , Sports Writer

It was a hard-fought weekend at home for the No. 18 University of Utah volleyball team as they took on No. 9 Washington and No. 24 Washington State. The Utes pulled off the upset, beating Washington, but fell to Washington State, which brings the team to 14-7, 6-4 Pac-12. 

Last weekend, the Utes took on the other two big teams in the Pac-12 — Stanford and UCLA — but the team wasn’t able to pull off a win. 

For their first match, the Utes took on the No. 9 Washington team, who was able to beat No. 2 Stanford earlier in the season. But this time, it was the Utes who took home the upset from the Huskies in four sets for their Power of Pink match. In the first set, the Huskies came out strong, beating the Utes 25-19, but the Utes got on a roll in the second set and never stopped. 

The second set came around and the Utes immediately got hot, leading 11-4, and ended the match as the won 25-13 with a .444 hitting percentage. In the third set, the Utes led by eight points in the middle of the match. The Huskies answered back, getting close to a comeback, but they couldn’t get back in it, and the Utes took it 25-17. The home crowd had great energy, which helped the Utes close it out in the fourth, 25-10. 

Utah hit .414 total for the match and even hit .591 in the fourth set. Dani Drews led the team with 20 kills and a hitting percentage of  .405 on the match. Kenzie Koerber and Zoe Weatherington also had great matches, with Koerber tabbing 14 kills and Weatherington ending with 12. 

Friday night was a crazy night for upsets in Pac-12 volleyball as UCLA beat Stanford in three straight sets and USC took the win from Cal in four sets. 

Sunday’s match against the Washington State Cougars was a hard loss for the Utes as they went to five sets, where every set was a point-for-point, very competitive volleyball match.

The first set was back-and-forth and hotly contested. The Cougars weren’t giving up easily, but the Utes were able to pull out the win 25-23. In the second set the Cougars got hot and were able to keep their pace, taking it 15-25. 

For the third set, the Utes came back fighting and led 16-9 after the first timeout from the Cougars, which led the Utes to take the set 26-24. The fourth was another point-for-point set where the Cougars took it 26-28. The fifth and final set brought out the best in both teams, but the Cougars were able to pull out the upset, beating the Utes 16-14. 

“They’re a great blocking team and I thought we responded well,” said coach Beth Launiere. “But in the end, they were just statistically better than us.” 

Drews matched the U program record with 31 kills on the match and Saige Ka’aha’aina-Torres had 67 assists, which is the second most in program history. 

“I felt like it was such a high-level volleyball match, but it’s so heartbreaking to lose those matches,” Drews said. “We put ourselves in position to win, but barely losing by two hurts.”

The Utes will be back home again this weekend in the Huntsman Center for matches against Arizona State and Arizona. The first will be played on Friday at 7 p.m. and on Sunday at 12 p.m. Both will be broadcasted on the Pac-12 networks.

 

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