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Utah’s Dani Drews became the first in Utes’ volleyball history to win this prestigious award

Utah’s Dani Drews spikes the ball during a volleyball set against the Southern California Trojans at the Jon M. Huntsman Center at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021.
Utah’s Dani Drews, left, was named the volleyball Pac-12 Player of the Year on Wednesday, April 7, 2021.
Annie Barker, Deseret News

Dani Drews, a standout for the University of Utah women’s volleyball team for the past four seasons, raised the bar for a rising program on Wednesday, becoming the first Ute to be named the volleyball Pac-12 Player of the Year.

Drews, a former Brighton High star who last year became just the second Utah player to earn AVCA first team All-America honors, has sparked the Utes in 2021 while accumulating 324 kills. The senior outside hitter has led Utah in kills in every single match and her 5.14 kills-per-set average tops the Pac-12.

“For Dani to earn this award during this unique season is a testament to her as an athlete and a person,” head coach Beth Launiere said in a statement. “She handled adversity well and continued to perform at a high level week after week. We’re proud of Dani and it is a great honor to our program to a have a Pac-12 Player of the Year.”

Drews was named to the All-Pac-12 for the third straight year and was joined on the team by senior Kenzie Koerber, while Saige Ka’aha’aina-Torres and Madelyn Robinson earned honorable mention honors.

The Utes are the No. 14 seed in the NCAA Tournament and earned a first-round bye. They will play the winner of Long Beach University and Pittsburgh on April 15.