LOS ANGELES – The Utah Beach Volleyball team dropped a pair of matches against a pair of top-10 teams on Sunday, falling to top-ranked UCLA and seventh-ranked Stanford at Mapes Beach.
Chloe Narancich stepped into the top spot with fellow freshmen Katie McAlister, while the Utes also switched up their second and third duos as well. Azure McOmber also made her Ute debut in the fifth position against Stanford after she had previously earned time in the exhibition spot.
Utah 0, #1 UCLA 5
The Utes opened Sunday’s action with a tall task against the top-ranked team in the nation. No. 1-ranked UCLA took straight-set wins on courts four and two to get out to an early 2-0 lead over Utah. Grace Andrews and Marissa Moch paired together for the first time this season, while it was Kylie Pitzak and Sydney Jacinto in the fourth position as it has been all season.
The Bruins clinched the match on court five with a win over Savannah Cottam and Sonja Wessel with the remaining two courts just getting play started. Bella Vezzani and Abby Karich played a tight first set on court three in their debut as partners, but went on to narrowly drop the set 21-16. The Bruins went on to complete the sweep with a win on court one over Katie McAlister and Chloe Narancich and eventually the win on court three.
Utah 0, #7 Stanford 5
Facing another top-10 team, the Utes fell behind 1-0 after Stanford picked up a win on court five to start the day. Pitzak and Jacinto played competitive sets on court four looking to even the dual, but dropped a tight first set 21-18. In the second set, the duo trailed just 16-15, but Stanford’s Maya/Andersson were able to close out the set 21-16 to push the dual to 2-0.
On court two, Koch and Andrews took the first set 21-17, but fell behind early in the second set and were forced to go to a third. In the third set, the Ute duo went back and forth with the Cardinal pair from start to finish. Koch and Andrews led 11-10, and later found the set tied 12-12. After trading points, the set was tied 15-15, but the Utes gave up consecutive points to see Stanford clinch the dual.
#7 Stanford continued the wins on court three over Karich and Vezzani, while the last court to finish came on court one. Utah’s freshmen duo of McAlister and Narancich put up a fight as the pair trailed just 15-13 in the first set…
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