Nov. 1, 2012
DENVER - Utah State volleyball reached yet another milestone with its thrilling 3-2 (25-20, 25-16, 17-25, 23-25, 15-12) win at Denver Thursday for USU's school-record 13th Western Athletic Conference wins, the Aggies' most conference wins in the program's history.
USU also won its seventh-straight road match to tie the 1978 squad for the most single-season consecutive road wins in a season mark. The Aggies won their fifth-straight win overall as well as winning their eighth WAC match in their last nine to improve to 18-7 overall and 13-2 in WAC play, winning 10 of their last 12 matches.
The 18 wins this season is also the second-most during head coach Grayson DuBose's seven seasons at the helm of the Aggie program behind 24 victories in 2010. USU has now won 18 or more matches in a season 14 times.
DU is 14-11 overall and 8-7 in WAC play with the loss. The Pioneers played their second five-set match of the week, beating Idaho in five Monday night at home.
Thursday's meeting with Denver was just USU's third meeting all-time, as the Aggies improved to 3-0 against the Pioneers all-time, but both meetings this season have been five-set contests. Prior to this season, the teams first met in 1983.
Senior opposite side hitter Shay Sorensen (North Ogden, Utah), led USU with her team-leading 11th double-double of the season with a double-13 on 13 kills and 13 digs. Sorensen now has 838 career kills, needing just 38 more to crack into the Aggies' career top 10 kills list.
Senior outside hitter Josselyn White (Smithfield, Utah) just missed her sixth double-double of the season with 11 kills and nine digs. However, White's 11 kills give her 808 for her career, joining Sorensen in the Aggies' 800 career kills club, becoming the 12th player in school history to reach the milestone after Sorensen became a member earlier this season. White also added two blocks Thursday, giving her 307 for her career and moving up to No. 8 on USU's career total blocks list, passing Tiffany Kitley (1996-99).
Redshirt-freshman Elle Brainard added 10 kills to go with a team-high four blocks, giving her 136 total blocks on the season, moving up to No. 9 on USU's single-season total blocks list. Brainard now has 131 block assists, moving up to No. 7 on the Aggies' single-season block assists list.
Sophomore setter Paige Neves (Otto, Wyo.) served up a career and USU season-high six service aces, as the Aggies served up a season-high nine aces on the night. Neves also dished out a match-high 49 assists, leaving her with 943 assists on the season, 57 shy from the 1,000 assists milestone. Fellow sophomore, libero Ashlan Rogers (Highland, Utah) also posted a match-high with 20 digs, while freshman defensive specialist McKell Staheli (Pleasant Grove, Utah) added 14 digs.
Denver was led by Faimie Kingsley and Michele Swope with 16 kills apiece, while Brea Muhle posted 10 blocks, on two solo blocks and eight assists and Colleen King added 10 kills to go with eight block assists. Frances Carroll distributed 48 assists, while Lyndi Johnson and Kate Acker each tallied 15 digs.
Behind the serving of senior setter Kassi Hargrove, the Aggies bolted out to a 5-0 lead in the first frame, and USU stretched its lead to 11-3 after White served up an ace. DU pulled within 19-17 after a USU attack error, but the Aggies regained control by scoring the next three points, sandwiching a pair of DU attack errors around a block by VanHoff and Orr for a 22-17 lead and the Aggies scored their last two points of the set off White kills for a 25-20 set win.
With the scored tied at 10-all in the second stanza, USU pulled away with a 9-3 spurt, started by a kill from Brainard, then capped by a kill from Neves after two-straight kills by Orr for a 19-13 Aggie advantage. Utah State captured the set victory after scoring four unanswered points to end the frame at 25-16, with Neves serving up two aces during the stretch, including the set-winner.
It was the host Pioneers who went on a scoring streak in the third set, pulling away from a 5-3 score and opening up a 10-4 lead after a kill by King. Later, King tallied another kill for an 18-8 DU lead. The Aggies pulled within 21-15 after a block by Brainard and Orr, but couldn't get any closer as Muhle ended the set for the Pioneers at 25-17.
The fourth set was back-and-forth in the early going before USU opened up a 20-16 lead after a Neves kill. However, the Pioneers rallied and sent the match to a fifth set with a 25-23 win after a kill by Johnson.
The Aggies took a 4-0 lead in the final frame behind White's serving with Orr pounding a pair of kills, then a kill from Brainard and a DU attack error. The Pioneers pulled even at 7-up, but a kill by Sorensen gave USU the lead at the change over. Another Sorensen kill gave USU a 12-10 lead, forcing a DU timeout, but it couldn't deny the Aggies as Orr later logged a kill for USU's 15-12 set win to take the match.
USU will continue its weekend trip by heading to Las Cruces, N.M., to take on New Mexico State in an all-Aggie affair on Saturday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m.
Saturday's match is on AggieVision, which can be found on selected cable and satellite stations. Check local listings or www.AggieVision.tv for more information. It will also be streamed on ESPN3.com.
Utah State will play at San Jose State on Saturday, Nov. 10 in its final road match of the regular season, before returning home to host Texas State on Wednesday, Nov. 14 in the Aggies' final home match. It will be Senior Night as USU will be honoring its three seniors: Kassi Hargrove, Shay Sorensen and Josselyn White.
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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