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Utes Volleyball Defeats UNLV in Home Opener

Utah opened up their season with a split weekend at the Utah Valley Invitational, but arrived at the Huntsman ready for action.
Xiangyao Tang
The University of Utah women’s volleyball celebrates after a point against 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)


The University of Utah volleyball team played their home opener on Friday night in a matchup against the UNLV Rebels, where the Utes picked up a 3-1 victory.

2023 marks an impressive 34th season for Beth Launiere as head coach of the Utes. Launiere was hired in 1990 to rebuild a program that won only a single game that previous year. She did just that, leading the Utes to a winning season in just her third year at the program. Launiere holds the school record for both victories (638) and winning percentage (.615). 

Utah opened up their season last weekend down in Orem at the Utah Valley Invitational. The Utes split the doubleheader, losing to Utah Valley before rebounding with a dominant 3-0 win over North Carolina State the next day. Lauren Jardine’s 14 kills led the way for the Utes.

The Utes entered Friday’s game coming off of a loss to Utah State up in Logan. Once again, they responded well. The Rebels started the first set hot and built a lead. Although, the Utes made some runs to fight back, including three points in a row with their backs against the wall to make it 24-19. UNLV then picked up a kill and finished off the set, to take a 1-0 lead.

After falling behind in the set 4-1, Utah fought back, scoring five points in a row at one point to turn a deficit into a 16-12 lead. This included four consecutive kills from Kamryn Gibadlo, Allie Olsen, Jardine and Gibadlo again. UNLV could not recover from this run, helping Utah to keep the momentum going and take the set comfortably by a score of 25-17.

Set three was an even more comfortable win for the Utes. The Utes took a 6-1 lead right off the bat thanks to multiple attack errors. UNLV cut it down to 14-11, but Utah went on another tear. The Utes took eight of the next nine points and never looked back. Utah won the set by a score of 25-14. Gibadlo led the way for the Utes in set three with four kills.

Utah’s offense kept it up in the fourth and final set. The Utes took a 7-1 run to build a 12-7 lead. They kept a steady lead most of the way, but the Rebels fought back towards the end to make it interesting. With Utah leading 22-17, UNLV turned in back to back to back kills and then a service ace, getting them within one point. The Utes were able to fend them off, however, and won the set 25-23 for a 3-1 win.

Jardine had an excellent game, recording a career high 21 kills and hitting .472 on the night. Viktoria Wahlgren also tied her personal record with 41 assists.

The Utes have a busy season ahead. They will travel to Oregon for a Tuesday game against Portland State. After that, the Utes will host the Utah Classic next weekend. They have a Friday doubleheader with games against Tennessee State and UC Santa Barbara. They will then play San Francisco on Saturday. All three games will be at the Huntsman Center.


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About the Contributors
Isaac Dunaway, Sports Writer
Isaac Dunaway is a news writer for The Daily Utah Chronicle. He started this position in October 2021. He is a sophomore at the University of Utah studying communication with an emphasis in journalism. He is also a proud member of the University of Utah Marching Band. He is a native of Salt Lake City.
Xiangyao Tang, Photo Director
Axe is a photographer and the photo director of the Daily Utah Chronicle. He is from China and is a senior majoring in computer science and minoring in digital photography. Axe joined the Chronicle in August of 2021. In addition to his position at the Chrony, he is also a photo intern for University of Utah Athletics. When he's not writing code, you will find him rock climbing, camping, skiing or hiking with his camera.

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