Nov. 27, 2013
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State volleyball celebrated Senior Night for its two seniors, Tumua Etimani and Alyssa Everett, in sweeping fashion, beating Nevada, 3-0 (25-18, 25-16, 25-14), Wednesday night at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
Etimani and Everett were recognized during a pre-match ceremony, then the Aggies went out and swept the Wolf Pack for USU's 20th win of the year, finishing the 2013 season with a 20-11 overall record and a 13-7 Mountain West ledger to finish third in Utah State's first season in the league.
"It's always nice. There's not many teams that get to win at the end, so it's kind of nice to be able to end on a high note and win and win our last couple of matches. I thought for our first year in the Mountain West, we put together a nice season and did some fun things," USU head coach Grayson DuBose said.
It is Utah State's second 20-win season in a row and third in the last four years, all under head coach Grayson DuBose. After going 21-9 last season, Utah State has now posted back-to-back 20-win seasons since 2000 and 2001, when USU won 22 matches in 2000 and 20 in 2001. Overall, the Aggies registered their 12th 20-win season in school history in the 38 seasons of Aggie volleyball.
"It's great. I think that 20 wins is a nice benchmark, and I think that should continually be the benchmark for our program and who we want to be and where we want to go. I think it's good for our program; it's good for publicity, all those things are positive," DuBose said.
Nevada fell to 4-27 overall and 2-17 in MW action and closes out the season Friday at Boise State. Wednesday was the Aggies' sixth-straight victory over the Wolf Pack, cutting Nevada's lead to 20-17 in the all-time series. It was USU's seventh win in the last eight match-ups between the two teams, who were former Western Athletic Conference foes. The Aggies improved to 12-5 at home against Nevada.
Etimani finished one kill and one dig shy of her 14th double-double of the season, ending the night with nine digs and nine kills with a .364 (9-1-22) attack percentage, with her ninth and final kill of her career was the match-winner.
"I'm glad that they trusted me with that last point to finish the game, and I'm really glad I did," said Etimani, an outside hitter from Richardson, Texas. "It felt great to play tonight. The whole team banded together; we never let up, pushed through and got the win in three. It was good not only because it's our last game, personally for me, but also because it's also the last game in the Spectrum as well."
Everett ended with four kills on a .250 attack percentage (4-2-8), and had two block assists.
"It was amazing. I loved playing with these girls for one last time, and we came out with a win and it was just special all around," said Everett, a middle blocker from Perry, Utah. "I just kept telling myself that it was just another game, and to celebrate after; to focus on the task at hand and taking care of what we needed to take care of."
USU nearly took care of its fifth match this season with a .400 hitting percentage, finishing the night at .392 (49-11-97), while limiting Nevada to a .121 (31-18-107), tightening the clamps throughout the match as the Wolf Pack hit .190 (10-2-42) in the first set, .148 (11-7-27) in the second and .026 (10-9-38) in the third.
Junior middle blocker Kaitlyn VanHoff (Draper, Utah) led the Aggie offense with 12 kills on a .579 (12-1-19) attack percentage, while fellow junior, outside hitter Rachel Orr (Thatcher, Ariz.) notched 10 kills.
VanHoff and Etimani had three blocks each, while Everett and sophomore opposite side hitter Elle Brainard (Saratoga Springs, Utah) notched two apiece and Orr recorded one, as USU had 5.5 total team blocks on the night, including Brainard teamin up with Everett and Etmani for the final block of the night.
Junior setter Paige Neves (Otto, Wyo.) dished out 30 assists, while classmate, libero Ashlan Rogers-Court (Highland, Utah) tallied a match-high 18 digs, while Etimani's nine were followed by freshman defensive specialist Hannah Gleason (Las Flores, Calif.) with seven.
Nevada was led by Grace Anxo with 10 kills, while Dana Holt dished out 17 assists and Lyndsey Anderson tallied 11 helpers. Anxo and Madison Thorpe registered eight digs each, while Tessa Lea'ea and Donna Greely posted two block assists each for the Wolf Pack's two total team blocks on the night.
USU pulled away from a 6-all tie with four unanswered, getting a kill each from Etimani and Neves, then back-to-back VanHoff kills for a 10-6 lead and Nevada took a timeout. The visitor's rallied and came back to tie the score at 17-17 after a tandem block by Lea'ea and Greely preceded a USU attack error. The error was followed by a VanHoff attack to regain sideout for USU, and freshman setter Erica Moscoso (Mission Viejo, Calif.) served up six-straight points for USU, getting three kills by Orr during the spurt for a 24-17 lead. After an Aggie error, Orr finished the set at 25-18 with her fifth kill of the frame, while VanHoff posted seven kills in the set.
The second set mirrored the first, with USU pulling away during the middle part of the frame , this time from a 14-13 lead with three unanswered points for a 17-13 lead, capped by an ace from Gleason. After a Wolf Pack time out, USU surged ahead to a 22-15 lead after a Moscoso ace. Following a kill by Lea'ea that pulled Nevada to 22-16, Orr, Everett and Brainard had successive kills for a 25-16 set two victory. Brainard posted three kills in the second stanza, while Etimani, VanHoff and Orr posted three apiece.
Behind Gleason's serving, USU turned a 3-2 lead into a 12-2 gap, capitalizing on four Nevada errors in a row and getting a pair of VanHoff kills during the 7-0 streak. Etimani smashed two kills in a row for a 19-7 Aggie advantage. Later, Brainard paired up with Everett and Etimani for a block to give USU set point, and the Aggies set Etimani a few times before she got through the Nevada defense for the kill to complete the week and set off the celebration.
While USU loses Everett and Etimani, the Aggies will return several of this season's starters who will continue their pursuits of marks in the USU record books.
Neves finishes the season with 1,147 assists, moving up to No. 9 on the USU single-season assists list. She also now has 3,118 career helpers, ending her junior season No. 4 on the Aggies' career assists list.
Rogers-Court ends the 2013 season with 503 digs, becoming just the fifth player in USU history with 500 digs in a single season and first since single-season record holder Christine Morrill's 573 digs in 2010. Additionally, Rogers-Court is the third Aggie player with 1,200 career digs, wrapping up action as a junior with 1,203 total digs. Ending with 36 aces this season, Rogers-Court was two aces shy of cracking into the Aggies' single-season aces list.
VanHoff is No. 4 on the single-season block assists list with 143, as well as No. 4 on the total blocks list. She also is No. 2 on the USU career total blocks list with 416, while also ranking second on the Aggies' career block assists list with 395.
Orr ends the year No. 8 on the USU single-season attempts list with 1,111.
Fans can also follow the Aggie volleyball program on twitter 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, on facebook at facebook.com/USUAthletics, or on Instagram at instagram.com/USUAthletics.
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