Sept. 27, 2012
RUSTON, La. - Three players in double-digit kills paced Utah State to a 3-1 (25-18, 25-16, 22-25, 25-23) win over Louisiana Tech in Western Athletic Conference volleyball action Thursday night at LA Tech's Thomas Assembly Center.
USU improves to 9-5 overall and 4-1 in WAC action with the win, which was the Aggies' sixth in a row over the Lady Techsters, improving to 14-1 all-time, including 7-1 at Ruston, winning the last three meetings there. The Aggies' lone loss against the Lady Techsters was during the 2009 season in Ruston in five sets. With Thursday's loss, LA Tech falls to 3-13 overall and 0-4 in WAC play, losing its last five overall this season as well as dropping 18 WAC matches in a row.
Senior opposite side hitter Shay Sorensen (North Ogden, Utah) logged her sixth double-double of the season with a match-high 14 kills to go with 17 digs. Senior outside hitter Josselyn White (Smithfield, Utah) also posted a double-double, her fourth of the season, with 10 kills and not only a match-best, but career-high 20 digs, while sophomore outside hitter Rachel Orr (Thatcher, Ariz.) notched 13 kills.
Redshirt-freshman Elle Brainard (Saratoga Springs, Utah) added nine kills while logging a match-high .467 attack percentage (9-2-15).
The Aggies hit .221 for the match (55-21-154) including .346 (11-2-26) in set one. The Lady Techsters had an .083 hitting percentage (47-32-180), as the Aggie defense recorded 13 total team blocks, led by Brainard with eight and Sorensen with seven. Sophomore middle blocker Kaitlyn VanHoff (Draper, Utah) added five blocks, including the Aggies' lone solo block.
White added two blocks, giving her 182 career blocks, moving her into solo possession of the No. 9 spot on USU's career blocks list, separating from a tie with Melissa Schoepf (1997-2000). The current Aggie senior now has 256 career block assists, leaving her two shy of tying former teammate Chelsea Fowles (2007-10) for No. 10 on the USU career block assists list with 258.
Sophomore setter Paige Neves (Otto, Wyo.) recorded her fifth double-double of the season with a match-high 48 assists and 11 digs. It was Neves' fifth match this season with 40 or more assists and the 11th time in her career. Fellow sophomore, libero Ashlan Rogers (Highland, Utah) logged 17 digs while freshman defensive specialist McKell Staheli (Pleasant Grove, Utah) added 12 digs.
LA Tech was led by Fenix Calderon with 10 kills and added 15 digs. Caitlin Germany tallied five blocks, Maria Coelho dished out 32 assists and Ana Rodrigues notched 19 digs.
USU jumped out to a 5-1 lead in set one after a kill by Orr, but LA Tech bounced by to tie it at 6-6 after a Calderon kill. Sorensen and VanHoff teamed up for a block to open a 14-11 Aggie advantage and the Lady Techsters never got within two points the rest of the set. Holding a 21-18 lead, USU closed out the set with a 4-0 spurt, with Orr sandwiching in a kill in between three LA Tech errors for the Aggies' 25-18 set capture.
In the second frame, the visitors bolted to an 11-0 lead behind the serving of White, dishing out two aces during the streak. LA Tech pulled within eight points, but USU's offensive attack kept the home team at bay, as Orr pounded a kill for a 21-11 Aggie lead. The Lady Techsters cut the gap to 23-16, but White logged a kill and then LA Tech had an attack error to set the team's to the locker rooms after USU took set two at 25-16.
After the intermission break, USU opened a 4-1 lead in set three after a VanHoff kill and a LA Tech attack error. The Lady Techsters rallied to take a 14-10 lead after a kill by Calderon. However, the Aggies countered with a 7-1 streak to take a 17-15 lead, with White recording a pair of kills during the run and Staheli capping the spurt with an ace. After a Sorensen kill gave the Aggies a 21-18 lead, the Lady Techsters reeled off the next five points behind the serving of Rodrigues to take a 23-21 lead. Another kill from Sorensen pulled USU within 23-22, but a LA Tech block and an Aggie attack error gave the Lady Techsters the set at 25-22.
Just like in the third set, LA Tech scored the first point of the set in the fourth stanza, and extended its lead to 10-8 after a kill from Calderon. Down 16-13, USU scored six unanswered after a kill by White started the streak and Brainard capped it with a kill for a 19-16 Aggie advantage, before a service error ended the rally. LA Tech countered by scoring five of the next six points for a 22-21 lead following a kill by Dalane Guidry. USU scored the next two points after a kill by VanHoff, then VanHoff teamed up with Neves for a block and a 23-22 lead for the visitors, before an Aggie error tied the set up at 23-all. However, back-to-back kills from Orr and Sorensen ended the set at 25-23 and the match for the Aggies.
While Utah State made the trip to Ruston, La., for the eighth season in a row, following Thursday's match the Aggies will be making their first trip to Arlington, Texas since 1990 and only the third all-time trip there, facing league newcomer UT Arlington on Saturday, Sept. 29 at 1 p.m. (MT). The Mavericks improved to 6-10 overall and 2-2 in WAC play with a four-set win over San Jose State Thursday night.
After this road trip, USU opens up a season-long five-match homestand starting with New Mexico State on Thursday, Oct. 4.
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.
USU volleyball action can be followed live on the Internet with live stats available through the "Gametracker" link at www.UtahStateAggies.com. Aggie volleyball home matches are also streamed online by clicking on the "Watch Live" link at www.UtahStateAggies.com. There is a Utah State All-Access Monthly Subscription for $9.95 and a Utah State All-Access Yearly Subscription for $79.95.
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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