SALT LAKE CITY – The University of Utah volleyball team fell in four sets to UCLA on Friday night (25-15, 18-25, 22-25, 13-25). The Utes captured the first set against the visiting Bruins, but couldn’t sustain the momentum. Utah is now 9-12 on the season (4-7 Pac-12), while UCLA improves to 12-9 (4-7).
Kamryn Gibadlo led the way for the Utes offensively, collecting 11 kills. Emrie Satuala and Amelia Van Der Werff also contributed nine and eight kills respectively, as Van Der Werff hit at a team-best clip of .400.
Vanessa Ramirez led all players with nine digs, while Satuala was the leader in blocks with five.
Utah’s first-set victory was fueled by a strong offensive attack that produced a hitting percentage of .375, while UCLA hit at a .241 clip. The Utes’ hitting percentage dropped to .129 in set 2, .242 in set 3 and -0.83 in set 4, as UCLA amped up its defensive performance at the net. The Bruins steadily improved each set, hitting .316 in set 2, .375 in set 3 and a blistering .545 in set 4. For the match, UCLA outhit Utah .363 to .183.
Despite their offensive struggles, the Utes threatened to regain control in the third set. After UCLA jumped out to leads of 5-0 and 10-2, the tenacious Utes steadily clawed their way back to trail just 15-13 after Van Der Werff and Satuala combined on a block. The closest Utah would get was 19-18 before UCLA scored the next two points and went on the win the set, 25-22, taking a 2-1 lead in the match.
The Utes briefly…