LOGAN, Utah - Utah State volleyball breezed to a first-set victory over Utah Valley on Tuesday night, but the Wolverines came back and found their attacking groove as the Aggies lost in four sets, 18-25, 25-18, 26-24, 25-15.
Senior outside Lauren Anderson recorded her third double-double in the last four matches, leading the USU attack with 17 kills and adding 11 digs, all while hitting .275 (17-6-40). Senior opposite Kayla DeCoursey also finished with double-digit kills, collecting a season-high 12 kills on a season-high 33 attempts. Senior middle Carly Lenzen was the most efficient hitter for the Aggies, recording nine kills and hitting .438 (9-2-16).
Lenzen also led the Utah State block with four as the Aggies finished with 7.5 to Utah Valley’s 8.0. Junior libero Tasia Taylor recorded her third match this season with 20 or more digs, finishing the night with an even 20 and leading both teams. Redshirt freshman Jaysa Funk directed the USU attack for the fourth consecutive game, collecting 45 assists and led the Aggies behind the service line with a career-high three aces.
Utah State opened the first set hitting .294 (16-6-34), scoring the first point of the frame behind a kill by Lenzen and never trailed. The Aggies also held the Wolverines to -.037 (7-8-27), tallying 4.5 blocks with Anderson leading the way with three (one solo, two assists). Taylor punctuated the set for Utah State with an ace, 25-18.
USU opened the second set as it finished the first, with an ace from Taylor, but Utah Valley countered with a three-point run and led for the rest of the frame. Back-to-back aces by Funk late in the set pulled the Aggies to within five, 18-13, but it was also close as the home side came as a pair of kills by UVU wrapped up the set for the Wolverines, 25-18.
Utah Valley appeared to carry all of the momentum into the third set, racing out to a 5-0 lead. However, Utah State began to chip away and tied the set at 11-11, one of 11 ties during the set. Neither team was able to muster more than a two-point advantage down the stretch, culminating in a 23-23 deadlock. Utah Valley capitalized on a USU attacking error on the next rally, but a kill by DeCoursey squared the game one final time at 24-24. However, UVU recorded a kill to take its second set point, 25-24, and an error by Utah State gave the Wolverines the set, 26-24.
The two teams played through five more ties to begin the fourth set until UVU found some headway, scoring back-to-back points to take a 7-5 lead behind two USU attacking errors. Kills by Anderson kept the Aggies within one point at 8-7 and 9-8, but the Utah Valley offense found its groove in the set and hit .435 (13-3-23) to the Aggies’ .222 (11-5-27) and closed the match out with a 10-3 run for the 25-15 decision.
“We had chances and we just let them slip through our fingers just a little bit,” head coach Grayson DuBose said after the match. “They served, right at the end, especially game four, they just served better than we did and we got in trouble and we didn’t respond very well.”
Utah Valley was led by senior outside Lexi Thompson and senior middle Madison Dennison with 13 kills apiece, as Thompson also collected a double-double with 10 kills. Freshman libero Seren Merrill led the Wolverines with 17 digs and Dennison and senior setter Sierra Starley led the UVU block with five each.
Utah State will play its final tournament of the year this coming weekend, traveling to Flagstaff, Ariz., for the Lumberjack Classic, and facing Northern Arizona, CSU Bakersfield and Arizona State.
Tickets for the season can be purchased online at utahstateaggies.com, at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum ticket office or by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305.
Fans can follow the Aggie volleyball program on Twitter @USUVolleyball, on Facebook at USUVolleyball or on Instagram at @usuvolleyball. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at @USUAthletics, on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics or on Instagram at @USUAthletics.
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