Utah Volleyball Finishes Another Home Weekend with Split Sweeps


Xiangyao Tang

The University of Utah women’s volleyball team takes on the BYU Cougars at the Jon. M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Sept. 15 2022. (Photo by Xiangyao “Axe” Tang | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Max Lepore, Sports Writer


The University of Utah volleyball team faced off at home against their rivals from the state of Washington — No. 15 University of Washington and Washington State this past Friday and Sunday, respectively. The Utes, looking to improve their record in conference play, were coming off a weekend where they had swept Cal but were swept themselves by Stanford. Here’s how they fared against their Washington rivals.


To start off the match against the nationally-ranked Huskies, the Utes built a 10-7 lead early, with fifth-year senior Madelyn Robinson leading the way. The Utes kept working on this lead until it was built up to 20-14, but Washington then went on a 5-0 run to tighten the score to 20-19. However, the Utes clamped up and were able to go on a 5-1 run to defeat the Huskies in the first set with a final score of 25-21. Robinson and sophomore Lauren Jardine helped lead the way in the final stretch of the set for the Utes.

The Huskies were able to clamp up in the second set, but junior Allie Olsen helped lead the Utes to a 16-13 lead in the middle of the set. The Utes and Huskies went back and forth until the score was 20-17, with a 3-0 run by Washington tying up the set at 20 a piece. However, back and forth play from both teams ensued, and a kill from fifth-year senior Megan Yett gave the Utes the set point at 24-22. However, a 3-0 run by Washington then gave them a set point at 25-24. Robinson earned a kill that led to more back and forth between the two teams in this thrilling set. With the score tied at 28 a piece, a kill from Robinson and a Jardine ace ended the extended set at a final score of 30-28, giving the Utes a 2-0 set lead in the match.

The Utes were able to carry over their success from the second set into the third. A dominant set that included a 7-0 run from the Utes ended in a 25-16 score, giving Utah a 3-0 sweep over a nationally ranked rival.


The Utes started off strong in their first set against the Cougars, earning an 11-7 lead early on. Washington then went on a 7-3 run to tie up the set at 14 apiece. Olsen worked hard to earn a kill, but a 4-0 run from Washington State gave them an 18-15 lead. The fighting went back and forth until, despite a kill from standout freshman K.J. Burgess along with an ace score by junior Vanessa Ramirez, the Cougars went on a 4-1 run to win the set with a final score of 25-21.

The Utes were able to go on a 6-0 run to take a 7-4 lead in the second set. Utah built it to an 11-7 lead, but an absolutely dominant 9-1 run gave the Cougars a 16-12 lead midway through the set. However, the Utes kept fighting hard, with a 4-1 run to tighten up Washington State’s lead to just 17-16. A 3-3 run from both teams, led by Robinson for the Utes, tied up the set at 20 a piece. The Cougars then went on a 3-1 run to take a 23-21 lead. Olsen earned a kill, but the Cougars earned a set point at 24-22. Burgess then collected a kill, but the Utes were unable to overcome the Cougars, as they scored a final kill to take the set at 25-23 and take a 2-0 set lead in the match.

The final set went back and forth from start to finish with there being 16 tied scores and six lead changes. Utah led by 3 points after Burgess and Amelia Van Der Werff teamed up for a block, but the lead quickly vanished as Washington State scored 3 in a row immediately after. Later on, another block from Burgess and Van Der Werff was followed by another Robinson kill to get the Utes to 20 points first with a 1-point lead. Freshman Viktoria Wahlgren helped the Utes earn 2 points in a row to tie up the set at 23 a piece. The Cougars then earned a block for match point, but Olsen and Jardine earned a block together before Wahlgren stepped up with another kill to give the Utes their own set point at a score of 25-24. However, the Cougars then called a timeout and went on a 3-0 run to finish off the third set 27-25, winning the set 3-0.

The weekend was a mixed bag for the Utes. They were able to sweep the 15th best team in the nation, but they also got swept by one of their other rivals. They will look to improve their Pac-12 play next week with a trip to Oregon. They will compete against the Oregon Ducks on Friday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. MT, followed by a match against the Oregon Beavers on Sunday, Oct. 23 at 1 p.m. MT.


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