Utah Volleyball had its first taste of competition on Saturday as it hosted Colorado State in the Jon M. Huntsman Center for an exhibition match. The Utes downed the Rams in straight sets to earn the win before playing an extra two sets where the Utes would also take those frames (25-23, 25-20, 25-18, 25-21, 22-20).
Sixteen of the 18 Utes saw action in the exhibition match with every Ute hitter earning at least one kill on the day. Junior Lauren Jardine and freshman Kamryn Gibadlo reached double-digit kills for the Utes as Jardine totaled 13 kills and Gibadlo recorded 11 kills in four sets of play each. Emrie Satuala posted eight kills, Kamry Bailey added seven kills, while KJ Burgess, Amelia Van Der Werff, Rianne Vos, and Skylar George each posted six kills.
Leading the Ute offense was a split between Viktoria Wahlgren, who played in four sets, and Grace Hammond, who played in two sets. Wahlgren dished out 41 assists and Hammond added 16 assists. Defensively, Satuala led play at the net with six blocks, and Jardine and Van Der Werff each tallied five blocks.
In the backrow, Vos led the team with 12 digs, while Wahlgren added eight. Wahlgren also completed her stat sheet with four aces. Utah had nine athletes earn at least four digs in the match.
The Utes took a competitive first set that saw all five of its hitters record at least two kills. Vos tallied three kills on five swings to lead the way, while Allie Olsen also notched three kills in the opening frame. Wahlgren earned the start at setter and posted 11 assists and a team-best four digs to start the match.
In the second set, Gibadlo erupted for five kills on .444 hitting, while the trio of Jardine, Bailey and Van Der Werff all tallied three kills. Wahlgren continued to set the pace, dishing out 12 assists.
The offense in the third set was once again led by a freshman with George heading the attack with five kills. Burgess added four kills on .375 hitting, while Van Der Werff and Satuala tallied three blocks each. Iliana Linahan saw her first action of the day and posted seven digs to highlight the backrow efforts in the third set.
The evenly spread offensive efforts continued as the match went on. Wahlgren and Hammond split setting duties in the fourth set as five hitters each recorded at least two kills in the frame once again. Vos tallied three kills and eight digs, while Jardine and Bailey added four kills each. Utah also recorded four aces as a team.
The fifth and final set went back and forth from start to finish, but the Utes took the clean sweep after winning a 22-20 marathon set. Satuala registered four kills on four swings to lead the team in the hot-hitting set as the group combined for a .462 hitting percentage in the fifth. Jardine also added four kills with Wahlgren leading the offense and tallying 13 assists.
Utah hit .385 as a team in the final two sets as the offense began to click more and more. Overall, Utah tallied 71 kills in the match, 65 digs, six aces, and 11 blocks.
Utah Volleyball opens the 2023 season next Friday and Saturday, Aug. 25-26, at the Utah Valley Invitational at Lockhart Arena in Orem, Utah. The Utes’ season opener is Friday night against Utah Valley at 6 p.m. MT. To close out the weekend, Utah plays NC State on Saturday at 12 p.m. MT.
Original article courtesy of Utah Athletics can be found here.