Oct. 27, 2011
LOGAN, Utah - Shay Sorensen recorded a career-high 19 kills and Utah State survived three match points in a hard-fought five-set win against New Mexico State (25-21, 19-25, 25-18, 19-25, 18-16) here Thursday. USU improves to 10-13 on the season and 5-5 in Western Athletic Conference play with the win, while NMSU falls to 18-6 overall and 7-2 in league play with the loss.
Utah State has now won three of its last four matches against New Mexico State after losing the previous nine in a row, including five straight at home.
Leading 8-5 in the fifth set, Utah State saw New Mexico State battle back to take a 10-9 lead. USU regained the advantage at 13-11 only to see NMSU score three-straight points to force match point at 14-13. The Southern Aggies also had match points at 15-14 and 16-15, but Utah State would not cave and the home Aggies scored the final three points for the win.
Sorensen, a junior opposite side hitter from North Ogden, Utah added four block assists in the match and hit .533 (19-3-30), while senior All-American outside hitter Liz McArthur (St. George, Utah) had 16 kills and 13 digs for her 11th double-double of the season and 23rd of her career.
Freshman setter Paige Neves (Otto, Wyo.) added four kills and eight digs in the match for Utah State and tied her career-high with six blocks, while freshman middle blocker Kaitlyn VanHoff (Draper, Utah) tied her career-high with seven kills to go along with five blocks. Sophomore middle blocker Nicole Gneiting-Theurer also played well for USU as she had a career-high five kills to go along with five block assists.
Utah State also welcomed back Josselyn White (Smithfield, Utah) who had missed the previous eight matches due to injury, and the junior outside hitter finished with five kills, four block assists and a career-high tying three service aces.
New Mexico State was led by freshman outside hitter Meredith Hays who had 25 kills and 12 digs.
Sorensen led Utah State with six kills in the first set as the home Aggies turned a 9-8 deficit into a 14-11 advantage and never trailed again in posting the four-point win. USU hit .433 (14-1-30) in the opening set as Sorensen hitting .857 (5-0-6), and NMSU hit .314 (18-7-35).
New Mexico State was the team with the run in set two as it turned an 8-8 tie into a 17-12 lead en route to the 25-19 win. NMSU hit .467 (15-1-30) in the second set and USU hit .294 (13-3-34).
After trailing 2-0 early on in the third set, Utah State scored seven straight points courtesy of three service aces from White and USU lead by as many as nine at 17-8 before posting the 25-18 win. Utah State hit .154 (10-6-26) here and New Mexico State hit .057 (11-9-35). Sorensen led the home Aggies with four kills on four attacks in the third set.
New Mexico State tied the match at two sets apiece with a 25-19 win in the fourth set that included a 6-1 run. NMSU hit .429 (16-4-28) in the fourth set and Utah State hit .250 (12-5-28).
In the fifth set, Utah State hit .129 (8-4-31) behind four kills from Sorensen, while New Mexico State hit .027 (10-9-37).
Utah State finished the match with a .255 (57-19-149) hitting percentage and New Mexico State hit .242 (70-30-165). USU also had 2.5 more team blocks (14.5-12.0) and four fewer service errors (9-5) in the match, while NMSU finished with six more digs (59-53). Both teams had seven service aces.
Utah State returns to action on Saturday, Oct. 29 when it hosts Louisiana Tech (9-17, 0-9) at 7 p.m.
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