No. 8 Utah Volleyball Shuts Down Sun Devils on the Road

University+of+Utah+senior+Dani+Drews+%281%29+in+a+NCAA+Women%27s+Volleyball+game+vs.+the+Arizona+Wildcats+at+the+Jon+M.+Huntsman+Center+in+Salt+Lake+City%2C+Utah+on+Friday%2C+Jan.+22%2C+2021.+%28Photo+by+Kevin+Cody+%7C+The+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29

University of Utah senior Dani Drews (1) in a NCAA Women’s Volleyball game vs. the Arizona Wildcats at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Photo by Kevin Cody | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By J. Prather, Sports Writer

 

The University of Utah Volleyball team left Tempe, Arizona with two more wins to add to their perfect season so far. After a hard-fought five-set win on Friday, Feb. 5, the Utes took to the court Sunday to cap off the weekend against the Arizona State Sun Devils.

The Utes came out of the gate hot in the first set on Friday, looking just as prepared as they did in their first four games this season. Utah ran up the score 9-2 quickly and then a few points later went on a nine-point streak to go up 19-6. After allowing only two more points, Utah took the set 25-8. The next two sets would look completely different.

The Sun Devils became a well-oiled blocking machine in the second and third sets, recording 15 total on the match compared to Utah’s six. ASU’s top three blockers walked away with seven each combined solo and team blocks. Utah lost both sets two and three 21-25 and for the first time this season was down on sets and in danger of recording a loss.

“We just didn’t adjust to when ASU started to play a lot better in the second and third sets, they were making some great plays,” said senior outside hitter Dani Drews in a post-game interview with Pac-12 Network. “I’m glad that we were able to come back and battle through the fourth and fifth set and end up winning, but yeah it was definitely a punch to face in the second and third sets.”

The fourth set was a fight indeed. After trading points, the mid-set score was 13-13 as Drews stepped up to the service line and Utah recorded five straight points. Later, with Utah at set point ,Arizona State fought back with sophomore outside hitter Iman Isanovic serving, but ASU ultimately fell to Utah, 25-20. Utah took the fifth set 15-8.

Dani Drews led the team in kills with 31, one less than ASU recorded as a team. Kenzie Koerber had three aces, Madelyn Robinson had two and Drews had one. Koerber led with 19 digs, while Vanessa Ramirez continues to impress in her freshman season recording 16 digs and seven assists.

Sunday’s match was business as usual for Utah, needing only three sets to walk away with the win. Teamwide statistics were more balanced than usual. Drews had a less dominating but more than sufficient performance recording 20 kills on 41 attempts with five errors, hitting for .366. Behind her were Zoe Weatherington, Kenzie Koerber and Phoebe Grace with nine, seven and five kills, respectively. Saige Ka’aha’aina-Torres continues as the assist leader with 28 in Sunday’s effort and an astounding 51 on Friday.

“I love seeing her go off like that. She’s such an amazing player, such a good athlete too. She can really ball out and turn it on,” Drews said of Ka’aha’aina-Torres.

The Utes are back home for the next two matchups, against the USC Trojans Feb. 12 and 14 and the Oregon Ducks Feb. 18 and 20.

 

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@JP_at_TheChrony