The Utah women's volleyball program's best finish in nine seasons of Pac-12 play was rewarded Tuesday, when Beth Launiere was named the conference's Coach of the Year.
Ute junior outside hitters Dani Drews and Kenzie Koerber made the 18-player All-Pac-12 team and Zoe Weatherington made the All-Freshman team. Middle blocker Berkeley Oblad and setter Saige Ka’aha’aina-Torres received all-conference honorable mention.
In her 30th season, Launiere has led the No. 17 Utes to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in seven years, with a first-round match vs. Illinois on Friday (4 p.m.) in Provo. Utah is 22-9 overall and placed third in the Pac-12 behind Stanford and Washington, each seeded in the top eight of the 54-team NCAA field. The Utes went 14-6 in conference play, their most wins ever.
Launiere's team is a “a great group,” she said. “They are driven, they want more, and I'm excited to go to battle with them, because they've really been a team that never would give up all year long and it's been a really fun ride so far.”
Launiere was a three-time Coach of the Year in the Mountain West; this is her first Pac-12 honor. The school celebrated her 30th season in October, when Kim Turner became the first Utah player to have her jersey retired. Launiere’s career record is 586-369 (.614).
Drews, from Brighton High School, is a repeat selection to the All-Pac-12 team. She has posted 581 kills and needs only 12 to break the school's season record. Her 33 kills vs. USC broke a program record in the rally-scoring era and she leads the team with 33 service aces.
Koerber, from Chino Hills, Calif., is second on the team with 364 kills. She has been named both the Pac-12 Offensive and Defensive Player of the Week this season and was the MVP of the season-opening Utah Volleyball Classic.
Weatherington, from Mint Hill, N.C., has reached double figures in kills 15 times, including matches vs. ranked opponents Pittsburgh, BYU, Stanford and Washington.