Dani Drews the Record Breaker


Xiangyao Tang

University of Utah outside hitter, Dani Drews (#1), plays in a game against University of Arizona in Jon M. Huntsman Center, Salt Lake City, Utah, on Oct. 24, 2021. (Photo by Xiangyao “Axe” Tang | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Emily Dush, Sports Writer


The University of Utah volleyball program has become one of the nation’s best. Not only has the program developed players, they have made four sweet-16 NCAA appearances. Despite all of the challenges any Division-1 program goes through, the Utah volleyball team has produced several great players. One of the best players that has come through the U’s volleyball program is Utah native Dani Drews.

Drews has accomplished many feats during her five years as a student-athlete. She is Utah’s all-time leader in career kills with a total of 2,268. She is a four-time AVCA All-American, four-time AVCA All-Region selection, the 2020 Pac-12 Player of the Year and the second all-time leader in the Pac-12 for career kills.

Looking back at the career Drews had, it is no surprise that she broke the record for the most career kills at Utah and made such an impact in the Pac-12 as well as a top player in the country. Before Drews got to college, she registered 339 kills in high school.

Drews managed to break the record for most kills any Utah volleyball player has had during her fifth-year season. She broke the record when Utah played USC and won in straight sets. In that match alone, Drews had 17 kills.

“I couldn’t be more happy for Dani,” said head coach Beth Launiere. “She has worked hard for the record and has earned this. It was a special moment in the locker room after the match for her and for our team to be a part of.”

Drews broke this record with plenty of the season left and she was one kill away from tying the most number of kills in a game by any Utah player. When Utah played Oregon State, she tallied up 29 kills. In her senior season, Drews had two games where she had 30 kills in the match. Drews set the record for the highest number of kills made in a match her senior season.

In her junior season, Drews posted 643 kills, which was the second highest career kill total for the 2019 season in the Pac-12. In that season she became the second player in Utah volleyball program history to be named an AVCA First Team All-American. She also was named the AVCA Pacific South Region Player of the Year.

Not only has Drews broken kill records throughout her time as a college athlete, she also had high career records for the number of digs she had accumulated during her time at Utah, recording over 1,000 career digs. These numbers and awards show how versatile of a person on court she was for the program and the team.

Had Drews not returned to use her extra year of NCAA eligibility, which was given to all student athletes when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she would have ended her collegiate career still on a high note, as she had offers to go overseas and play a professional career. Had Drews gone that path, she would not have broken this record — the extra year allowed her to reach 2,000 kills in her collegiate career as well as 1,000 career digs. She is the sixth player in the Pac-12 to reach these records.

Drews led the team to a sixth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance and a second round berth in her final season with the program.

Drews graduated from the U, but her legacy in the Utah volleyball program as well as the athletic department lives on as she continues to play overseas. Drews is an example of what any college athlete hopes to achieve in their program as well as in their athletic career. 


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