Utah Volleyball: Drews Kills Cardinal


U of U Volleyball player, Dani Drews (#1), during the game against Stanford on Mar 5, 2021 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center on campus. (Photo by Jack Gambassi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Brian Preece, Sports Writer

A cancellation of home matches against Oregon and the only two losses of the season had the University of Utah volleyball team anxious to light the U this weekend.

Finally back at home after three weeks away from their homecourt, the Utes were more than ready to be back on the floor. After two disappointing losses against the University of Washington Huskies last week left a bitter taste in the mouths of the No. 9 Utes, they looked forward to taking that frustration out on the visiting Stanford Cardinal.


Against a depleted Stanford squad, traveling with only eight players, Utah had a great opportunity to pick up wins over the defending national champion Cardinal. They’d had to do it a little short-handed themselves though, as the Utes would be playing without senior starter Kenzie Koerber for the first time this season.

Another Utah senior, Dani Drews, would take the lead as Utah won the first two sets in convincing fashion, 25-14 and 25-17. Neither set was particularly close, and Utah looked to be on their way to a straight-set sweep.

Stanford had other ideas though, as they opened the third set with a flurry, taking an 11-5 early advantage. Utah mounted several rallies in the set, but could not get within two points en route to a 25-20 set loss.

Neither team was able to gain a significant lead in the fourth set. Utah would build a 10-6 lead that Stanford quickly erased before tying the score at 17. It was back and forth until Stanford tied things up at 22, when Drews would take over. Drews put the Utes up 23-22 on her 30th kill of the match. She would go on to serve for the final two points as Utah picked up a fourth set win 25-22.

Drews finished with 30 kills. It was the fifth time in her career and the second time this season she topped 30 kills in a single match. Saige Ka’aha’aina Torres helped the team with 49 assists and Madelyn Robinson was the only other Ute in double-digit kills, finishing with 12.


On Sunday afternoon in the Huntsman Center, Stanford sprinted out to an early match lead and would go on to win the first set 25-16. It would be the only bright spot of the day for the Cardinal as Utah would go on to win the next three sets. 

After the first set loss, Utah set a tone in the second set by taking an early 11-6 lead and would use a 6-0 run later in the set to build a 24-14 advantage before eventually winning 25-17.

Never giving the Cardinal an opportunity to breathe, the Utes used fast starts and relentless attacks to win sets three and four 25-20 and 25-19.

Phoebe Grace had a season-high 10 kills, trailing Drews’ 19 kills. Robinson and Megan Yett also offered important contributions on Sunday as they combined for 17 kills and 20 digs.

At the Net

The 10-2 Utes will travel to Los Angeles to face the 10-4 UCLA Bruins in two matches scheduled for Friday, March 12 and Sunday, March 14. Utah will enter the weekend’s matches third in the Pac-12, whereas the Bruins remain in fifth place.


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