Oct. 9, 2012
LOGAN, Utah - Despite a season-high team attack percentage and a career-high 22 kills from senior Shay Sorensen, Utah State volleyball's four-match win streak was halted with a five-set loss to Utah Valley (25-17, 25-19, 25-27, 24-26, 12-15) Tuesday night in a non-conference match at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
USU is 12-6 overall after its four-match win streak was halted, while UVU improves to 10-7, winning its last three in a row and four of its last six matches. The Aggies have now lost the last three meetings with the Wolverines, and the series is now level at 5-5. Utah Valley snapped Utah State's 11-match win streak to open the 2010 season.
The Aggies hit a season-high .375 (62-17-120), getting a career-high 22 kills from Sorensen, an opposite site hitter (North Ogden, Utah), while junior outside hitter Rachel Orr (Thatcher, Ariz.) added 15 kills.
The Wolverines tallied a .273 (72-30-154) attack percentage, and had four players in double-figure kills, led by Kalani Norris with 15 kills, while Bailey Farris and Erica Nish notched 13 kills apiece. Lauren Stringham added 12 kills on a match-high .632 (12-0-19) attack percentage), while Katie Fritzler chipped in with 11 kills.
USU had 19 total team blocks, as redshirt-freshman Elle Brainard (Saratoga Springs, Utah) tied a career-high with nine blocks and shared match-high honors with teammate and fellow middle blocker, sophomore Kaitlyn VanHoff with nine. VanHoff is this week's reigning Western Athletic Conference Volleyball Player of the Week, and has tallied a combined 26 blocks in her last three matches.
UVU was also in double-digits for total team blocks with 10.5, getting seven from Stringham and six from Brookelyn Hall, who also led the Wolverines with a match-high 65 assists. UVU was led by McKenna Tait with 14 digs.
Aggie sophomore setter Paige Neves (Otto, Wyo.) dished out 53 assists for the second match in a row, and her sixth career match with 50 or more assists, including four this season.
Sorensen and freshman outside hitter Candace Richins (Kaysville, Utah) led USU with 10 digs each. Richins tallied a new season-high for digs and added six kills in making her first start at home and just her fifth of the season, starting Tuesday night in place of senior outside hitter Josselyn White (Smithfield, Utah), who did not play due to illness.
The Aggies rolled to a 25-17 set one win, pulling away from a 15-14 score. Neves started the 10-3 spurt with a kill, then Sorensen and Orr later notched back-to-back kills to seal the set.
In set two, USU opened a 16-11 lead after a kill and ace by Sorensen, then an Orr kill, forcing a UVU timeout. The Wolverines cut the gap to 20-18 on a Farris kill, but the Aggies scored five of the next six points, including a pair of tandem blocks that VanHoff was a part of, first with Orr and later with Sorensen. A UVU attack error ended the set at 25-19 to send the teams into the intermission with USU leading, two sets to none.
The third set saw the visitor's close in on the set win with a 23-20 lead, but USU fought back to tie it at 23-all on a kill by Richins, then a block by Richins and an attack error. Utah State fought off two set points before Utah Valley capitalized on the third and Farris notched a kill for the Wolverines' set-taking at 27-25.
In the fourth frame, USU was on the verge of winning not just the set but the match, leading 23-21 after a kill by Sorensen, but UVU scored five of the next six points to win the set at 26-24 after a kill by Hall, sending the match to a fifth and deciding set.
The Wolverines got out to an 8-5 lead at the change-over but USU cut the cap to 10-9 on a block by Brainard and Neves, and knotted up the set at 12-12 after a Sorensen kill. However, kills by Norris and Farris preceded a USU attack error to end the set and the match for the Utah Valley victory at 15-12.
Utah State will be continuing its "Dig for a Cure" campaign as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and to help raise money for Logan Regional Hospital Foundations's Breast Cancer Services. Pledges are now being gathered for every dig the Aggies make during their seven home matches in October as part of USU's "Dig for a Cure" campaign. 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. More information along with pledge/donation forms can be found here: http://bit.ly/RtaUKK.
The Utah State Campus Store is donating 20 percent of all pink merchandise sales during the month of October to Aggie volleyball's "Dig for a Cure" campaign and their selection can be found online here: http://campusstore.usu.edu/c-225-dig-for-the-cure.aspx.
Utah State's longest homestand since 2000, continues when the Aggies take a break from conference play to host in-state foe Utah Valley on Tuesday, Oct. 9. Returning to WAC play, USU will host San Jose State on Saturday, Oct. 13 and UTSA on Monday, Oct. 15. After road matches at Idaho on Thursday, Oct. 18 and at Seattle on Saturday, Oct. 20, USU returns home to host UT Arlington on Thursday, Oct. 25 and Louisiana Tech on Saturday, Oct. 27. All Aggie home matches start at 7 p.m.
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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