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Utah Volleyball Improves to 7-0

The Utes dropped East Tennessee State in a straight sets sweep for their third best start to a season in school history.

Utah head coach Beth Launiere has her squad off to a 7-0 start, third best in school history.
Utah head coach Beth Launiere has her squad off to a 7-0 start, third best in school history.
University of Utah Athletics

The Utah volleyball team won its seventh straight match overall and its fifth consecutive match with a sweep over an opponent after downing East Tennessee State (25-23, 25-16, 25-22) Friday afternoon in the first match of the Lipscomb Invitational at Allen Arena in Nashville, Tenn. The Utes’ tied its third best start to a season in school history, improving to 7-0 overall with the fifth win in-a-row in straight sets and sixth overall on the season. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers dropped its third straight match and fell to 3-5 overall on the year.

"We managed to do a lot of things in the match that we practiced on this week and that is always nice to see," said head coach Beth Launiere. "We were able to keep the service errors down today, which was nice. We got to see a lot of players in a lot of different situations and that was nice as well."

Chelsey Schofield-Olsen and Kendall Cygan both recorded double-doubles in the win. It was the second double-double of the season for Schofield-Olsen, who finished the match with a team-high 11 kills and 10 digs. Cygan managed to notch her first double-double of the season as she recorded 20 assists and a team-high 11 digs.

Not to be outdone, Eliza Katoa tallied 10 kills in the match, while hitting at a clip of .556. Katoa and Bailey Bateman both came away with five block assists in the match as Utah recorded 6.0 total blocks as a team.

The Utes trailed just one time in the first set at 4-3, but a kill from Brenna DeYoung helped give Utah a 7-4 lead following a quick 4-0 run. Utah would later push its lead to 23-17 late in the match until a 6-0 run tied things up at 23-23. The Utes would take the match just two points later and go up 1-0 following a kill from Adora Anae and an ETSU attack error.

Makenzie Moea’i recorded four of her six kills in a second set that started out with a Utah leading by as many as six points, up early 8-2. ETSU would battle back to take a 13-11 lead, but Utah just dominated the rest of the set, closing with a 14-3 run and taking a 2-0 lead in the match.

"It was a streaky set, that is for sure," said Launiere. "It was a set of runs by both teams. We gave up a big run midway through the set, but came back with a big one to win it."

Both teams would trade leads throughout the majority of the third set until Schofield-Olsen’s kill made it 19-14 in favor of the Utes and forcing the Bucs to take a timeout. ETSU came out of the break with a 3-0 run and later got to within a point of the Utes, but back-to-back kills from Schofield-Olsen and Katoa put the match away and gave Utah its fifth consecutive win in straight sets.

"We will have to play better tomorrow," said Launiere. "But, we are finding ways to win and that is all you can ask for. We are taking care of business lately, winning in straight sets and that is good to see from this group."

Utah outhit the Bucs .209 to .091 as the Ute defense limited ETSU to just 33 kills on 121 attempts. The Utes tallied 54 digs in match as well, while ETSU countered with 48 digs throughout the three sets.

The Utes will return to action tomorrow with a morning match against Georgia Tech before closing out the day against tournament host Lipscomb. First serve Saturday morning is set for 9 a.m. (MT). Saturday evening’s draw is slated to begin at 5:30 p.m. (MT)