Utes take 2-1 at Villanova Volleyball Invitational

This past weekend, the University of Utah Volleyball team finished off their last non-conference tournament at the Villanova Volleyball Invitational. The Utes played against Villanova, High Point University and Temple University, and went 2-1 on the weekend.

The Utes started off their opening match on Friday against Villanova. The Utes lost their match against Villanova, winning only the first set 25-20 and third set 25-26 with big runs throughout. After a leaky roof delayed the match, the Utes took the lead building a nine-point lead, not letting Villanova catch up they closed out the set at 25-20. Villanova took the second set 25-20. The Utes came back in the third set with a nine-point lead, finishing off the third set, 25-16. Villanova then finished off the match, beating the Utes in the fourth set 25-22 and in the fifth 15-9, to win the match in the fifth set.

Dani Drews, Lauga Gauta, Phoebe Grace, Kenzie Koerber and Bailey Choy all had strong performances in this game. Drews had her third double-double of the season with 20 kills and 15 digs. Gauta had 16 kills, Grace had 11 kills and Koerber had 10 kills, with 4 players total with double digit kills from the Utes this match. Choy also had a powerful night with 50 assists and 13 digs.

The Utes took on Temple Saturday morning, taking the win in 5 sets. Temple took the lead early in the first set, but the Utes eventually caught up evening out the score. The set was close, going back and forth with the teams exchanging the lead throughout. The Utes took the lead with 18-14, Temple took a timeout and responded right away by taking the first set 25-23. The Utes took the lead early in the second set but Temple didn’t take long to fight back catching up to the Utes and taking the lead 24-23. The Utes didn’t let Temple prevail and pushed for the win 27-25. Temple then pushed for the third set winning the set 27-25. The Utes finished off the last two sets with the fourth 25-20 and the fifth 15-8, taking the win 3-2.

Gauta and Choy both had good showings against Temple as well. Both had double-doubles in this match. Gauta tallied 23 kills and Choy tied her career mark with 57 assists.

The Utes finished off the tournament strong with a win against High Point University. High Point started off with the win on the first set 25-23. The Utes responded quickly in the second set and took the win 25-22. They used the momentum they had from set two on to set three and four and beat High Point 25-20 in the third and 25-23 in the fourth, taking the match in four sets 3-1.

Outside Hitter Dani Drews and Setter Bailey Choy were named to the all-tournament team. Drews finishing the weekend with 59 kills, 43 digs, and 10 serving aces. Drews averaged 4.21 kills per set. Choy averaged 10.9 assists per set finishing the tournament with 153 assists.

l.gastelum@dailyutahchronicle.com

@leilanigastelum

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