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Utah Volleyball Defeated by Stanford, Overcomes Colorado

After falling to Stanford, the Utes won a five-set thriller against the University of Colorado to snap a five game losing streak.
Xiangyao Tang
The Utah women’s volleyball takes on the Oregon State Beavers at Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, Oct. 06, 2023. (Photo by Xiangyao “Axe” Tang | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

This week, the University of Utah Volleyball team (11-19, 6-14 Pac-12) traveled west to take on the No. 2 Stanford Cardinal, then returned to Salt Lake City to battle the Colorado Buffaloes. These matchups come following back-to-back losses against the Washington Schools.

No. 2 Stanford

On Wednesday, the Utes took on the No. 2 nationally ranked Stanford Cardinal on the road. Both teams started off the first set with tight competition, with the Utes trailing only by a single point. From here, the Cardinal caught on fire, going on an 8-1 run. With the large lead, Stanford cruised to the first set victory of the match, 25-11.

The second set started with both teams trading the first ten points. Tied at five, the Utes broke out on a 4-0 scoring run to take a commanding lead. The Cardinal were able to cut the deficit, later re-tying the set at 13. The two teams continued to battle back and forth, eventually producing an 18-18 tie. From here, the Cardinal found their stride once again, riding their momentum to a 25-20 set win.

Stanford’s momentum carried into the third set, as they rocketed off to a quick 12-3 lead with a 9-0 scoring run. Stanford’s offensive excellence continued, eventually producing a 15-point lead. Winning 24-10, the Cardinal had earned their first match-point opportunity. A Stanford kill won the set 25-10, and the match in straight sets.


On Friday, the Buffaloes took on the Utes for Senior Day. Prior to the match, a ceremony was held for Utah fifth-year athlete Emily Smith. To start the first set, both teams traded the first eight points. From here, the Utes completed a 3-0 run to take the lead.

Later, Colorado tied the match at 16 points. From here, back-and-forth competition continued. A kill by Emrie Satuala set up the first set-point opportunity for the Utes. Colorado went on to foil two of the Utes’ attempts, tying the set at 24. Then, the Buffaloes earned two quick points to win the set, 26-24.

In the second set, the Utes quickly took the lead and refused to relinquish it. Leading by six, the Utes forced Colorado to take a timeout. The Utes’ stellar play continued, as they worked to expand their lead further. Dominating along the way, Utah soon found themselves with the set-point chance. An attack error by the Buffaloes won the set for the Utes, 25-16.

Colorado started off hot in the third set, quickly establishing a 5-1 lead. The Utes were able to bring themselves within one point of the Buffaloes’ lead, but were unable to tie the set. Colorado continued to protect their lead late into the set, eventually producing a set-point opportunity. A service error won the set for the Buffaloes, 25-18.

Colorado’s momentum carried over into the fourth set, as they took the lead early. Colorado continued to add on points, eventually leading by eight points. The Utes completed a 5-0 run, cutting Colorado’s lead to three points. Later, back-to-back aces from Vanessa Ramirez tied the set at 17. From here, the two teams continued to battle, eventually resulting in a 26-26 tie. Later, an attack error by the Buffaloes won the set for the Utes, 28-26.

The Utes started off the win-or-go-home fifth set on fire, completing an early 3-0 run. Colorado quickly matched this, tying the set. Later, while tied at eight, the Utes completed another 3-0 run to take the lead. Colorado attempted to rally, but to no avail. An attack error from Colorado gave the Utes the match point. Utah won the set 11-15 and the match 3-2, snapping a five-game losing streak.

Looking Forward

With the completion of these matches, the Utah Volleyball team has finished their final season as a member of the Pac-12 Conference. Next season will be their first as a member of the Big 12 Conference. When asked how the team will prepare for the conference change, head coach Beth Launiere said “In the off-season, our plan is to pick apart each team week-by-week and just get an idea for them [each team].”

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About the Contributors
Jonah Marriott, Sports Writer
(he/him) Jonah Marriott grew up in South Ogden, Utah, where he inherited his love for sports from his parents. He is a devout fan of each of Detroit’s major sports franchises, the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun, and the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL. He is pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering, with an emphasis in aerospace.
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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