Aggie Volleyball Dealt Four-Set Loss By Gamecocks Friday Morning In Duke Invitational Opener
Sept. 13, 2013
DURHAM, N.C. - Utah State volleyball won the first set but then lost the next three in a 3-1 (25-16, 22-25, 20-25, 19-25) loss to South Carolina Friday morning in the opening match of the Duke Invitational.
The loss snapped the Aggies' three-match win streak, as well as maintaining their streak of dropping the first match of each of their tournaments played in this season. USU will have a chance to continue its routine of bouncing back to win the rest of its tournament matches like in the previous two tournaments when the Aggies return to the court Friday evening at 5 p.m. (MT) to take on host Duke and then wrap up Invitational action Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. (MT) against Liberty.
With the loss Friday morning, USU is 5-3 overall, while South Carolina improved to 4-3 with the win. Friday was the first-ever meeting between the Aggies and Gamecocks on the volleyball court.
Utah State hit .379 (13-2-29) in the opening set, winning 25-16 after pulling away from a 10-8 lead with a 6-1 spurt, before hitting less than .200 in the other three sets, finishing the match with a .145 (45-23-152) attack percentage. South Carolina was limited to a .062 (10-8-32) attack percentage, before hitting over .160 in the other three sets, finishing with a .174 (57-29-161) attack percentage.
Junior outside hitter Rachel Orr (Thatcher, Ariz.) led USU with 13 kills while junior middle blocker Kaitlyn VanHoff (Draper, Utah) and sophomore opposite side hitter Elle Brainard (Saratoga Springs, Utah) posted 11 kills apiece. Junior libero Ashlan Rogers-Court (Highland, Utah) and senior outside hitter Tumua Etimani (Richardson, Texas) notched 18 digs each.
Freshman setter Erica Moscoso (Mission Viejo, Calif.) recorded her first career double-double with career-highs of 40 assists and 10 digs in making her first career start. Moscoso started in place of junior setter Paige Neves (Otto, Wyo.) who missed Friday morning's contest with an injury, but is expected to play in Friday evening's match.
The Aggies logged 10 total team blocks, led by six from VanHoff, while senior middle blocker Alyssa Everett (Perry, Utah) posted four blocks and Orr, Brainard and Moscoso logged three blocks each. Orr also tied a career-high with two service aces.
With 18 digs, Rogers-Court now has 838 career digs, moving into No. 9 spot on the Aggies' career digs list, passing Melissa Schoepf (1997-2000) with 830 career digs, and needing just one more to tie Carrie Steverson (1988-91), at No. 8 with 839 digs.
VanHoff's six blocks Friday morning give her 288 career block assists, climbing past former teammate Josselyn White (2009-12) with 286 block assists for the No. 8 spot on USU's career block assists list. VanHoff now has 302 career total blocks, becoming the 10th Aggie player with 300 career total blocks and closing in on the No. 9 spot on the career total blocks list held by Tiffany Kitley (1996-99).
South Carolina was led by 14 kills apiece by Darian Dozier and Juliette Thevenin, while Lindsey Craft notched 15 digs. Kellie McNeil registered a double-double with 46 assists and 11 digs, and Michaela Christiaansen logged a match-high 20 digs. Dozier posted four blocks (one solo, three assists), while Jacqy Angermiller recorded four block assists.
Utah State opened an 8-3 lead in the first frame after a block by Orr and VanHoff. South Carolina closed to 10-8 before the Aggies went on a 6-1 spurt, starting with a kill by Brainard and capped by a Vanhoff kill for a 16-9 lead and forcing the Gamecocks to call a timeout. USC closed within 19-15 but USU pulled away by going on another 6-1 streak, bookended by plays from Orr, starting with a kill and capping it with an ace for the set one win at 25-16.
In the second set, South Carolina opened an 11-5 lead after back-to-back points off blocks, first on a tandem block by Dozier and Sarah Blomgren and the second on a solo block by Blomgren. Down 16-11, the Aggies reeled off five unanswered points, starting with an Etimani kill and VanHoff pounded a kill knot the score at 16-all. However, USU couldn't take the lead, tying it for the final time in the set at 18-all, before USC pulled away for a 24-21 lead. An Etimani kill closed the gap and got the Aggies within 24-22 forcing the Gamecocks to take a timeout, but Angermiller notched a kill to take the set at 25-22 for South Carolina.
USU jumped out to a 14-7 lead in the third frame after consecutive kills by Brainard and Etimani. The Gamecocks clawed back and tied it at 19-19. A VanHoff kill gave the Aggies a short-lived 20-19 lead before the Gamecocks scored the set's next six points, with four coming off USU errors, to capture the 25-20 set three victory.
A quick kill by Moscoso gave the Aggies a 5-4 lead in the fourth stanza, but that would be USU's last lead of the frame as USC opened up a 14-9 lead and didn't look back. The gap grew to 17-10 after a Blomgren kill. The Aggies pulled within 19-14 after an Orr kill but couldn't get any closer and the Gamecocks won set four, 26-19, to win the match at 3-1.
This weekend's action wraps up regular-season tournament play for the Aggies, and they host Boise State on Wednesday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in USU's Mountain West league debut.
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 also follow the Aggie volleyball program at twitter.com/USUVolleyball, on facebook at facebook.com/USUVolleyball or on instagram at instagram.com/usuvolleyball. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics, on facebook at facebook.com/USUAthletics or on instagram at instagram.com/usuathletics.