Utah Beach Volleyball Heads to Tucson to Begin Pac-12 Play


(Courtesy University of Utah Athletics)

By Max Valva, Sports Writer


This weekend kicked off the beginning of Pac-12 play for the Utah beach volleyball team. The team headed down to Bear Down Beach at the University of Arizona in Tucson to participate in the Pac-12 South event.

The team faced some tough competition as they squared off against last year’s national runner-ups the UCLA Bruins this past Saturday. This matchup proved to be a challenge for the Utes as the top-ranked UCLA Bruins team beat the Utes by a score of 5-0. Utah kept it close as the duo of Kylie Pitzak and Sydney Jacinto on court five pulled out an impressive first set victory with a score of 21-19.

On court four Sommar Daniel and Lauren Sayre played competitively for the Utes before the duo eventually dropped the close-set by a score of 25-23. Marissa Koch and Samantha Leight for Utah saw a close second set against the Bruins in which they cut a larger deficit down to just two points before UCLA was able to squeak out a narrow victory. 

The team also faced off against the reigning national champions USC Trojans on Saturday. The number three ranked Trojans proved to be too much for the Utes as they shut out the team 5-0. USC got off to a hot start as they quickly won four of the five courts, however the 4s for Utah put up a good fight. Daniel and Sayre had their second competitive match of the day, but barely got edged out by USC’s Shannon Scully and Caroline Schafer.  

Sunday wrapped up the final two matches for the Utes in the Pac-12 South tournament. The Utes earned their first win of the season against the Oregon Ducks. This also marked the program’s first-ever conference win in the regular season with their only previous win coming in the Pac-12 Championship. 

The day started out with the team falling to No. 8 Stanford. The Cardinal jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead before Sydney Jacinto and Kylie Pitzak got Utah on the board, making the score 2-1. Even after their performance, the Utes were unable to capitalize and lost by a score of 4-1. 

After falling short to Stanford, the Utes looked to bounce back against the University of Oregon. After falling behind 2-0, Jacinto and Pitzak proved to be the spark the Utes needed as the pair won their second match, making the score 2-1. Still trailing, Utah pairs Marissa Koch and Samantha Leight as well as Bella Vezzani and Grace Andrews had to win their matches in order to win the game. Koch and Leight played three competitive sets in which they finished with a marathon the last set, edging out the Ducks 22-20. Vezzani and Andrews also played three entertaining sets, however, were able to build a lead in the third set which led to a Utah victory. 

After securing their first win of the season the team will take a break from Pac-12 play and head to California to participate in six matches this upcoming weekend.


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