Oct. 29, 2000
LOGAN, Utah -
UP NEXT -- Utah State (ranked 19th in the country in the latest AVCA/USA Today Coaches' Poll) will play its final two home matches of the season this weekend versus No. 12 Pacific and No. 18 Long Beach State on Nov. 2 and 4 at 7 p.m. in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. The Aggies will be looking to go undefeated at home as USU is currently 9-0 on the season at the Spectrum. Only two other teams have ever gone undefeated at home, as the 1978 team went 11-0, and the `79 team went 18-0. The Aggies have lost its last 17 matches in a row to both the Tigers and 49ers.
RECAPPING LAST WEEK -- Utah State went 2-1 last week with victories over Idaho (15-11, 15-8, 15-5) and Cal Poly (16-18, 15-10, 15-10, 15-5), and a three-game loss at No. 14 UC Santa Barbara by scores of 8-15, 4-15, 9-15. Against the Vandals, seniors Amy Crosbie and Denae Mohlman had 12 kills apiece, while fellow senior Melissa Schoepf added 10 as USU hit .270 as a team. At Santa Barbara, USU hit just .171 as a team, while the Gauchos hit .319. Junior Michelle Matheson led the Aggies with 11 kills and four blocks, while sophomore Rochelle Currier had 10 kills and six digs. Versus Cal Poly, Crosbie had a team-high 25 kills, while junior Chelsi Neves had a career-high 24 digs as Utah State recorded its first ever win at Cal Poly. In all, five Aggies had 10 or more kills and 10 plus digs in the match, with four of those players recording double-doubles. The Aggies hit .256 in the contest, while the Mustangs hit .204.
SCOUTING PACIFIC-- Pacific is currently 18-3 overall and in first-place in the Big West with a 10-1 league mark, and ranked 12th in the country. The Tigers lone league loss of the year was at UC Santa Barbara in four games. UOP has won 10 matches in a row and leads the all-time series with USU 21-4 including a three-game win earlier this year in Stockton. The last time USU defeated Pacific was in 1981. The Tigers return two starters and nine letterwinners from last year's Final Four team that went 32-3 overall and 15-1 in the Big West. Freshman Jennifer Joines leads the league with a .411 hitting percentage and a 1.64 blocks per game average, while junior Jamie Hamm leads the league in digs. As a team, UOP is second in league with a .262 clip.
SCOUTING THE 49ERS-- Long Beach State (ranked 18th in the latest AVCA Poll) is 15-7 on the season and 6-5 in the Big West Conference, tied for fourth place with Cal Poly. The 49ers have lost three of its last five matches and is just 1-3 on the road in league play this season. The 49ers are hitting .270 as a team, while opponents hit just .158 against LBSU. Junior middle blocker Tayyiba Haneef leads the club with a .359 hitting percentage, while fellow junior middle blocker Cheryl Weaver is hitting .311 with a team-high 326 kills and 122 blocks. The 49ers return three starters and 10 letterwinners from last year's Final Four team that went 31-4 overall and 14-2 in league play. LBSU defeated USU earlier this year in Long Beach in three games. The last time Utah State defeated Long Beach State was in 1982 and trail in the all-time series 6-21.
HOME COOKING-- Utah State has had great success at home over the past two years, as USU is 17-2 at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum under Coach Peterson, including a 13-1 league mark. USU is 9-0 at home this year and will be looking to become only the third team ever at USU to go undefeated at home along with the 1978 team that went 11-0, and the 1979 team that finished 18-0 at home. The Aggies nine home victories this season already surpasses last year's total of eight and is the third most ever by a USU team. Utah State has also had more home wins in the last two seasons (17) then it had in its previous eight years combined.
HEAD COACH TOM PETERSON -- Tom Peterson is in his second season as head coach at Utah State, after leading the Aggies to a divisional championship in his first season. Prior to USU, Peterson spent the previous three seasons at Salt Lake Community College, posting a record of 80-38, and 28-6 in the conference. Peterson also spent six years as head coach of the men's program at Penn State University, guiding the Nitnay Lions to a national championship in 1994 and five Final Four appearances. During his 10 plus year tenure as a head coach, he has an overall record of 240-105 (.696).
PETERSON SECOND ALL-TIME-- In his second season at the helm of the Utah State program, head coach Tom Peterson has the second highest winning percentage of any coach ever at Utah State. Peterson's .647 winning percentage is second only to Marilyn McReavy and Mary Jo Peppler who had a .757 winning percentage at Utah State in six seasons.
ON A ROLL -- Utah State has been on a roll as of late, winning 17 of its last 20 matches after starting the season with a 2-3 record. USU had a 10 match winning streak this year which was the longest for an Aggie team since the 1980 team won 15 matches in a row. Utah State has also won 32 of its last 42 matches. The 19-6 record for USU is the best start to a season since the `79 team began 20-1.
IN THE HUNT -- With four league matches remaining to the 2000 Big West schedule, Utah State is currently in third-place with a 9-3 league mark, trailing Pacific (10-1) and UC Santa Barbara (9-2). The Aggies can make the race much closer this weekend with wins over Pacific and Long Beach State at home. USU also has a chance to surpass last year's mark of 11 conference wins, which was a school record.
ENDING OLD STREAKS -- Utah State has made a habit of ending some long losing streaks this season with its 19-6 start to the season. USU's first streak-stopper was a three-game win over BYU which had won 29 matches in a row versus the Aggies dating back to 1981. Next on the list was Cal Poly, which had won nine matches in a row over USU dating back to 1980 before two Aggie wins this year. And finally UC Santa Barbara's streak of 23 straight wins over the Aggies dating back to 1978 came to an abrupt halt on Sept. 30 with USU posting a three-game win. USU also ended an 11-match losing streak to the University of Utah on Oct. 10 by defeating the Utes in four games. The last time Utah State defeated Utah prior to this season was all the way back in the 1990 season. This weekend, USU will try to stop two more lengthy losing streaks versus Pacific and Long Beach State, as both the Tigers and 49ers have won 17 straight matches versus Utah State.
AGGIES ENTER TOP-25 -- For the first time ever, Utah State's women's volleyball team is ranked in the Top-25 in the country as the Aggies are 19th in the USA Today/AVCA Division I Coaches Poll. The NCAA began sponsorship of women's volleyball in 1982, prior to that, volleyball was affiliated with the AIAW where USU won the National Championship in 1978 and finished second in the country in 1979.
FIRST WIN EVER AT CAL POLY -- Utah State put another notch in its victory belt this past Saturday at Cal Poly, as the Aggies recorded its first win ever on the road versus the Mustangs. USU was 1-9 versus Cal Poly all-time prior to sweeping the season series this season. Utah State also set a couple of school records in the match as USU had 91 kills and 85 assists which are both new school records for a four-game match.
AGGIES HAVE MOST WINS IN LAST 19 YEARS -- With five matches still remaining on the season for USU before postseason play, Utah State has already surpassed last year's win total of 14 matches with 19 and counting. In fact, it is the most wins for a USU team since the 1982 team won 28 matches and finished with a 28-19 record. The six losses on the season are the fewest by an Aggie team since the 1979 team lost five matches.
THREE TOP-15 WINS -- Utah State has had great success against top-15 opponents thus far this season as the Aggies disposed of BYU (ranked 10th at the time) in three games before defeating UC Santa Barbara (ranked ninth) on Sept. 30 in three games. The Aggies latest victory was a four-game win over No. 15 Utah in Logan on Oct. 10 USU is 3-4 versus top-20 opponents this year, losing a five-game match to (#18) Kansas State, and three-game matches to then No. 14 Pacific, then No. 18 Long Beach State, and then No. 14 UC Santa Barbara on the road. This week, USU will play two more ranked opponents in Pacific and Long Beach State at home.