Dec. 1, 2000
PROVO, Utah - Using a never-say-die attitude in its first round matchup with the University of Missouri in the 2000 NCAA Volleyball Touranment, Utah State fought back from the brink of elimination to defeat the No. 25 Tigers in five games to advance to the second round, where the Aggies will face BYU. USU improved to 22-9 on the year with the win, while MU ended its season with a 24-7 mark.
Utah State, ranked 21st in the country, trailed two games to one and was trailing in game four 14-11, but somehow fought back to not only win game four, but win the match by scores of 5-15, 15-6, 3-15, 16-14, and 15-9.
"I'm not sure I have been involved in a more emotional up and down match, especially in a NCAA atmosphere," commented Utah State head coach Tom Peterson. "Each team had many chances to win, and I am very proud of our girls to come back from being down 14-11 in the fourth game. It is a fabulous win for us."
Being up and down was the staple of the entire match as Missouri rolled to an easy 15-5 win in game one before Utah State returned the favor with a 15-6 win in game two. The rollercoaster ride continued for the Aggies in game three, losing 15-3. The Tigers looked to have the match well in hand early on in game four opening a quick 5-0 lead before USU responded with five points of its own. The Aggies continued its gritty play and extended its lead to 11-7 before the momentum turned again. From that point on, MU rattled off seven straight points to take a seemingly unbeatable 14-11 lead. However, USU somehow find a way to claw back to tie the game at 14, and would eventually win the game 16-14. Game five was close early on as the Tigers scored the first two points before the Aggies took a lead 3-2. The game went back and forth and was tied at eight before USU finally took control of the match and scored seven of the final eight points.
The senior trio of Amy Crosbie (Visalia, Calif.), Melissa Schoepf (Georgetown, Calif.), and Denae Mohlman (Shoreline, Wash.) paced Utah State with 44 of the teams 67 kills. Schoepf was also huge for the Aggies defensivley as she recorded 11 digs and nine blocks. Mohlman added six blocks, while Crosbie had nine digs. Junior setter Chelsi Neves (Otto, Wyo.) led all players with 18 digs to go along with six kills.
As a team, Utah State hit just .166 on the evening and were outblocked 18.0 to 15.5. The Tigers hit .239 as a team but had three less kills and 10 less attacks then the Aggies.
Utah State will next face host Brigham Young University on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m., in the Smith Fieldhouse. BYU is ranked 12th in the country with a 25-6 record after defeating Hofstra University in the other first round match. The Aggies defeated the Cougars in three games earlier this year in Logan.