Utah used another quick start in the third set to grab a 2-0 lead, but Stanford took four straight to assume a 4-2 edge. The Utes took three of the next four to tie the set for the second time at 5-5. Stanford inched out to a 9-6 edge, but Utah would come back to claim a 12-11. The set would then be tied three more times, the last time coming at 15-15 before Utah took three of the next four for an 18-16 edge. The Utes would maintain their two-point advantage until the 19-17 mark, where the Cardinal would launch a 6-2 spurt to claim a 23-21 lead, which would eventually lead to a 25-23 fourth-set win. Morgan Odale pounded six kills in the fourth frame alone, while digs were even at 14 apiece.
There were eight ties in the early portion of the fourth set, the last one coming at nine points apiece, before the Cardinal put together a 9-3 spurt for an 18-12 advantage. Stanford held a 21-16 lead, but Utah countered with three unanswered scores to pull within a pair to get to a 21-19 margin. The Utes then trailed 24-21 when they put together a furious 4-0 rally to even the set for the ninth time.
“One of the things we have been talking about for the last two days is that we just have to work hard,” Launiere said. “And that is what we talked about [during a timeout], to just keep working hard and let no ball hit the floor defensively. We just made things happen because we worked hard on that and that was the key. We just had a different mentality and attitude all night and everybody bought in to work hard and see what we can come up with.”
Unfortunately, Stanford was able to hang on and secure the match victory with a 27-25 win in the fourth frame.
No. 6 Stanford (10-2, 2-0 Pac-12) was led by a double-double performance by Jordan Burgess, who posted a team-high 17 digs and 16 kills.
“[After the match] we talk about how we can’t control the outcome,” Launiere said. “We can’t control what Stanford does. We just know that we put everything out there tonight. We did everything we could and Stanford was just a few points better than us.”
The Utes’ next match will be against No. 8 Oregon on Friday in Eugene. First serve from Matthew Knight Arena. The match will be televised live on the Pac-12 Network.
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