Oct. 3, 2013
LOGAN, Utah - Eleven kills from sophomore opposite side hitter Elle Brainard and 10 kills from junior middle blocker Kaitlyn VanHoff were not enough for Utah State volleyball, as the Aggies were swept by the Lobos of New Mexico, 3-0 (20-25, 15-25, 18-25), Thursday night at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
With the loss, USU is 9-6 overall and 3-2 in Mountain West Conference action, while UNM won for the 11th time in its last 12 matches to improve to 12-2 overall and 3-1 in MW play. Thursday was the first meeting between the Aggies and Lobos since 2006, and UNM as won seven of the last eight and 12 of the last 14 meetings to lead the overall series, 12-10.
Utah State had a season-low .031 (32-28-129) attack percentage, as UNM posted 14 total team blocks. The Lobos came into Thursday night leading the MW in conference only matches in blocks per set at 3.58 and boosted that with a 4.7 bps average on the night. New Mexico posted a .233 (42-14-120) attack percentage, with USU notching six total team blocks. The Aggies were tied for second in the league in conference only matches in blocks per set at 3.29 bps, logging a 2.0 bps average Thursday night.
Brainard (Saratoga Springs, Utah) posted three block assists to go with her team-leading 11 kills, while VanHoff (Draper, Utah) logged a team-best four block assists, with one solo and three assists. VanHoff added 10 kills on a team-high .269 (10-3-26) attack percentage.
Junior libero Ashlan Rogers-Court (Highland, Utah) registered a team-best 13 digs, while freshman defensive specialist Hannah Gleason (Las Flores, Calif.) added 10 digs. With the 13 digs, Rogers-Court moves into sixth-place on USU's career digs list with 921, passing Lori Sargent-McKnight (1996-99) with 919 digs.
Rogers-Court also served up a match-high two service aces, while junior setter Paige Neves (Otto, Wyo.) dished out 26 assists.
New Mexico was led by 16 kills by Chantale Riddle, while Hannah Johnson and Skye Gullatt tallied seven blocks apiece. Johnson recorded two solo blocks and five block assists and Gullatt's all came on block assists. Johnson also dished out a match-best 31 assists, while Miquella Lovato logged a match-high 25 digs.
A kill by senior outside hitter Tumua Etimani (Richardson, Texas), knotted the score at 7-7 in the first set, but USU couldn't take the lead, but kept UNM close, later tying it at 11-all after a Brainard kill. The Lobos loomed ahead with a 5-1 spurt to open a 16-12 lead following a kill by Riddle. The Aggies closed to 16-15 after a solo block by VanHoff, followed by a tandem block by Brainard and junior outside hitter Rachel Orr (Thatcher, Ariz.). That would be the closest USU would get as UNM pulled away and won the set at 25-20 after another Riddle kill.
UNM began set two with a 7-3 lead following a kill by Lexi Ross, and the Aggies couldn't keep the Lobos in their sights, as UNM opened a 17-9 lead. Utah State sliced the gap to 18-14 after a kill by Brainard and a UNM attack error, but the Lobos scored seven of the set's next eight points to take the second frame at 25-15.
The Aggies showed their fight in the third stanza, opening up a 4-0 lead behind Rogers-Court's serving along with a pair of kills by VanHoff. UNM cut the gap and overtook USU with a 13-7 run to take a 13-11 lead. A VanHoff kill pulled the Aggies within 13-12, but the Lobos reeled off a 12-4 spurt to seal the set and the match at 25-18.
The Aggies are scheduled to host Air Force on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m., at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. Stay tuned to www.UtahStateAggies.com for any schedule updates.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the Utah State volleyball team wants to help by raising money for Logan Regional Hospital Foundations's Breast Cancer Services. Pledges are now being gathered for every dig the Aggies make during their six home matches in October as part of USU's "Dig for a Cure" campaign.
For each dig (a defensive move made to control a spiked ball) the Aggies are asking for a donation of $0.25. If the Aggies record 200 total digs in the six matches, a pledge of $0.25 will result in $50. Half of this donation will go to the Logan Regional Hospital Foundation to assist in Breast Cancer Services while the other half will be used to support the USU Volleyball team. Pledges can be made in any amount and flat donations are also accepted and appreciated. Pledge and donation forms will be available at the matches at the marketing/promotions table on the west concourse of the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
Any pledge or donation received will enter the fan's name into a drawing which will take place the last home match in October, on Thursday, Oct. 31 vs. Wyoming. Prizes include: T-shirts, volleyballs and team photos. Come cheer on the Aggies during their October matches and keep track of their digs to help them "Dig for a Cure." For more information or to donate, contact USU Assistant Coach Taubi Neves at firstname.lastname@example.org or 435-797-2063, or go to: http://bit.ly/RtaUKK.
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.
Live stats and live video for this weekend's matches will be available via "GameTracker" and "Watch Live" links at www.utahstateaggies.com, the official web site of USU athletics.
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 or on facebook at facebook.com/USUAthletics.
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