MANHATTAN, Kan. - Utah State volleyball pushed No. 22 Kansas State to the limits in the first two sets, before getting swept by the Wildcats, 3-0 (22-25, 23-25, 18-25), Saturday night at KSU's Ahearn Field House.
USU slips to 5-4 overall after dropping both its matches on the weekend in Manhattan, Kan., after getting swept by Saint Mary's Friday night. It was the Aggies' third loss in a row after winning the previous four matches. KSU improved to 9-0 overall, and the Wildcats are 5-0 all-time against the Aggies, who were making their first trip to Manhattan as the previous four meetings were on neutral courts.
Utah State hit .100 (35-24-110) on the night, while Kansas State registered an attack percentage of .262 (43-15-107). The Aggies also tied a season-high with seven service aces.
Sophomore setter Paige Neves dished out 31 assists Saturday night, giving her 1,164 for her career, moving up to No. 11 on USU's career assist list, passing Heather Hillier (2005-08) with 1,139. Neves needs 114 more assists to reach the No. 10 spot, currently held by Mindi Jackson (1995-96) with 1,280 assist. Saturday was Neves' fifth-straight match with 30 or more assists.
Sophomore outside hitter Rachel Orr (Thatcher, Ariz.) posted a team-high 10 kills and hit .208 (10-5-24) for the match, while freshman outside hitter Candace Richins (Kaysville, Utah) and senior opposite side hitter Shay Sorensen (North Ogden, Utah) notched eight kills each. Redshirt-freshman middle blocker Elle Brainard (Saratoga Springs, Utah) logged a team-best .364 attack percentage (5-1-11) to go with six blocks to lead the Aggies, while Richins and Sorensen both recorded four blocks.
Neves also led USU with 12 digs, while sophomore libero Ashlan Rogers (Highland, Utah) added 10 digs. Rogers, Richins and Neves all notched two aces each, while Sorensen added one as the Aggies tied their season-high with seven aces for the third time this season.
Kansas State was led by Kaitlynn Pelger with 11 kills while Lila Porubek added nine and Kathleen Ludwig notched seven on a match-high .667 attack percentage (7-1-9). Caitlyn Donahue distributed 35 assists, while Pelger posted team-highs of 12 kills and six blocks.
The Aggies will continue their season-long seven match road swing by heading to Texas to open up their final season in the Western Athletic Conference with action against league newcomers UTSA on Sept. 13 and at Texas State on Sept. 15. The Aggies return home to the friendly confines of the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum to host another conference new team, Seattle, on Sept. 20.
Utah State volleyball tickets are available by contacting the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum or by phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305.
Fans can follow the Aggie volleyball program at twitter.com/USUVolleyball or on facebook at facebook.com/USUVolleyball. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on facebook at facebook.com/USUAthletics.
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